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The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

Olaf

Olaf Bastian, Christina Wachler, Markus Leibenath, Martin Neruda THE EUROPEAN NATURA 2000 NETWORK AS A FACTOR FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE ORE MOUNTAINS (GERMANY / CZECH REPUBLIC) 4 CONCLUSIONS Along the Ore Mountains ridge, NATURA 2000 sites constitute a huge and complex transboundary network of valuable ecosystems, which are not pristine but influenced by longterm economic and other human activities. They provide a broad range of economic, ecological and socio-cultural services, and offer considerable potential for a careful crossborder rural development. The draft strategy, developed together with relevant stakeholders from Germany (Saxony) and the Czech Republic (Northern Bohemia), identified opportunities and also risks and restrictions, while considering NATURA 2000 sites in the context of a sustainable rural development. All human activities have to take into consideration that the biodiversity and visual quality of the Ore Mountains are vulnerable to, and suffer from, land use intensification, the abandonment of extensive land management forms, the excessive afforestation of open areas with spruce monocultures, unsuitable development for tourism, and the establishment of wind turbines at sensitive sites on the mountain ridge. To conserve the valuable nature of the Ore Mountains, special efforts and effective measures are necessary. The challenge is to link protected areas like NATURA 2000 as core elements of an economically viable but at the same time sustainable development strategy. Yet, for many the NATURA 2000 is a mere catchword or slogan symbolizing a system of scientific terms that cannot be communicated easily to the lay person. Nature conservation would be more successful if it generated pride in such treasures of nature as raised bogs, mountain meadows, rare species and the typical landscape that constitute the natural heritage of the Ore Mountains, and strengthen a sense of identity of the people with their region. A great part of marketing actions for NATURA 2000 in Germany could be initialized by the administration of the Ore Mountains Nature Park, as it covers about two-thirds of the mountain ridge on the German side, and as it is widely accepted and known by tourists and locals. The project revealed various restraints (short-term economic interests, a dependency on subsidies, the lack of regional marketing structures, deficient awareness of the environment and of the values of nature and the cultural landscape). The Ore Mountains example also shows that cross-border cooperation is still difficult to manage, due to such simple factors as different languages, historical peculiarities, different political and socio-economic conditions and organizational/ institutional settings, cp. [7]. Nevertheless, involving stakeholders (authorities, organizations) on both sides of the border is the only way to achieve realistic cooperation, because the elaboration of such concepts can be only supported, but not imposed, from outside. For such projects, using existing networks with strong actors is helpful: we suggest linking the development of the draft strategy, such as tourism development strategies, nature conservation strategies, etc., to existing structures. Even close transboundary cooperation between ministries, non-governmental organizations etc., strongly depends on the cooperation of individuals, as much of the cross-border projects are carried out in addition to regular work, and since stakeholders are very often faced with urgent tasks and their interest in long-term strategic goals and concepts is not very great. 58

Olaf Bastian, Christina Wachler, Markus Leibenath, Martin Neruda THE EUROPEAN NATURA 2000 NETWORK AS A FACTOR FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE ORE MOUNTAINS (GERMANY / CZECH REPUBLIC) REFERENCES [1] ten Brink, P., Monkhouse, C., Richartz, S., 2002. Promoting the socio-economic benefits of Natura 2000. Background Report, Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), Brussels. [2] Petermann, C., Letzner, V., 2011. Regionale Beschäftigungseffekte durch Naturschutz. Natur und Landschaft 86(4), 162-165. [3] Gantioler S., Rayment M., Bassi S., Kettunen M., McConville A., Landgrebe R., Gerdes H., ten Brink P., 2010. Costs and Socio-Economic Benefits associated with the Natura 2000 Network. Final report to the European Commission (Contract No. ENV.B.2/SER/2008/0038. Institute for European Environmental Policy / GHK / Ecologic, Brussels. [4] Kettunen, M., Bassi, S., Gantioler, S., ten Brink, P., 2009. Assessing socioeconomic benefits of Natura 2000 – a toolkit for practitioners. Output of the European Commission project Financing Natura 2000: Cost estimate and benefits of Natura 2000 (Contract No.: 070307/2007/484403/MAR/B2). Institute for European Environm. Policy (IEEP), Brussels. [5] Bastian, O., Neruda, M., Filipová, L., Machová, I., Leibenath, M., 2010. Natura 2000 sites as an asset for rural development: the German-Czech Ore Mountains Green Network Project. Journal of Landscape Ecology 4(2), 41-58. [6] Commission of the European Communities, 2007. Renewable Energy Road Map – Renewable energies in the 21st century: building a more sustainable future. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, Brussels. [7] Leibenath M., Blum A., Stutzriemer S., 2010. Transboundary cooperation in establishing ecological networks: The case of Germany's external borders. Landscape and Urban Planning 94(2), 84-93. 59

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The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps
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