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5 years ago

The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

Hans-Jörg Raderbauer,

Hans-Jörg Raderbauer, Judith Drapela-Dhiflaoui, Brigitte Grießer, Martin Wieser, Horst Leitner, Johannes Leitner STUDY ON HABITAT NETWORKING IN STYRIA (AUSTRIA) / DEVELOPED WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF NATREG 1) Sectoral zoning: in the four sectors of ecology, networking, recreation, protection and welfare functions a method corresponding to the respective professional standards and the quality areas is analyzed. Connecting routes as sectoral value maps and important habitat corridors are shown. 2) Partial space separation: caused by the different natural and socio-economic conditions, Styria has a very different settlement and land use structure. In Upper Styria, the settlement area is limited throughout the valley. In the hilly Eastern and Western Styria more urban sprawl trends are possible. Around the urban centers there is an increasing pressure on the remaining open spaces. 3) Sectoral green zone requirement: a cross table is elicited and presented by a combination of sectoral value cards . 4) During the synthesis the four partial results were combined and produce a first technical proposal for the delimitation of green zones and habitat corridors. The technical draft has been enhanced as part of a consultation process with the knowledge of regional experts. The aim of the regional expert workshop was to upgrade the separation carried out in advance with the regional expertise and to pass on the project idea and results to the regions. As a result of the project NATREG Styria, there is an expert proposal for the demarcation of green zones and habitat corridors. The actual spatial planning process for consideration of binding demarcation and regulation of green zones and habitat corridors occurs during the making of the Regional Development Program (REPRO). 5 PROCESSING PRINCIPLES Definition of regions Depending on geomorphology and utilization, each country offers a wide range of various landscapes such as mountains, hilly areas, highlands, coastal areas, wetlands etc. The very diverse utilization in permanent settlement areas entails a high consumption of area. Especially, zones in inner-alpine valleys and around congested areas stay under high anthropogenic utilization pressure. Thereby, natural mitigation of wildlife is strongly affected and can even be inhibited to some extent. In the previously defined regions quite heterogeneous utilization-intensities are registered. Based on the geomorphologcial conditions and the anthropogenic utilization, Styria is divided into two major geographic regions, the alpine Upper Styria and the non-alpine ridges of the so called Eastern and Western Styria. In Upper Styria, settlement is mainly located in the valleys. The ownership structure is more spacious than in the cultural landscapes of Western and Eastern Styria. Inner alpine valleys offer a wide net of main traffic infrastructure demonstrating strong barriers for fauna and flora. Anthropogenic caused fragmentation is concentrated in these inner alpine valley landscapes. Higher reaches, on the other hand, offer a high ecological potential with lower anthropogenic influences. Within the hilly landscapes of Eastern- and Western Styria, anthropogenic utilization is distributed quite differently, e.g. settlement areas predominantly develop in valleys as well as on hills. The diverse mosaic of landscapes in this area is based on the different land utilization structures (specialized cultivation of different crops: vineyards, fruit-growing, crop-farming, 64

Hans-Jörg Raderbauer, Judith Drapela-Dhiflaoui, Brigitte Grießer, Martin Wieser, Horst Leitner, Johannes Leitner STUDY ON HABITAT NETWORKING IN STYRIA (AUSTRIA) / DEVELOPED WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF NATREG grassland, settlement areas, etc.), the small-scale structure of plots and the prevailing ownership structures. In these sub-regions, it is especially difficult to safeguard areas that have been influenced by human activities only to a low degree. Favorable settlement areas are situated in valleys as well as on the top of the hills. Due to anthropogenic utilization, Eastern- and Western Styria is divided into small sections and show a high degree of fragmentation. The road network is close-meshed and settlement densities are higher than in Upper Styria. Figure: Altitudinal and relief map of Styria 65 Figure: Spatial structures of Styria The comparison of the two major geographic regions of Styria (Upper Styria; Eastern and Western Styria) shows the degree of regional differences and the necessity to define connecting areas. For different regions indicators and criteria, which are necessary to distinguish sectoral green zones, are assessed in a miscellaneous way. Furthermore, the method to demarcate habitat corridors has to be adjusted according to the conditions of the respective region. Concerning these aspects, a classification of the number of regions is conducted. Independent from administrative restrictions, these regions represent connected landscape units. The definition of homogenous landscape areas is necessary to answer the dominant, spatial related question of connecting habitats. This allows the adjustment of the validation of selected assessment indicators according to the particular (sub) region.

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