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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

Proceedings of the 1 st

Proceedings of the 1 st GreenNet Conference, 31 st of Jan. 2012: “The Green Belt as a European Ecological Networkstrengths and gaps” Further the articles will give valuable impulses to several of the following 11 GreenNet core outputs: GreenNet - core outputs 2 due by 1 Media contacts and partnerships, IP coordination 31.10.2011 2 Common transnational methodology to be applied in all pilot areas 31.01.2012 3 Transnational analysis (of safeguarding processes and instruments) 31.05.2012 4 Web based database with integrated GIS tool (local, regional, inter-and transnational level) 30.09.2012 5 Spatial hotspots (1 defined set of 2-3 spatial hotspots in the 5 pilot areas) 31.01.2013 6 Development of tools for dissemination of results 30.11.2013 7 Development of tools for safeguarding ecological networks 30.11.2013 8 Transnational management and protection strategy 31.03.2014 9 Target oriented lobbying 31.03.2014 10 Policy makers (ongoing lobbying activities) 31.03.2014 11 World heritage promotion (ongoing lobbying activities) 31.03.2014 Summarizing the panel discussion at the end of the conference, the speeches, articles and own thinking, there can be drawn following conclusions: The European Green Belt as an Ecological Network has an - unique throughout the world - natural and cultural heritage with an emotional human and political history, meaning and power. It symbolizes also, that something bad can turn into something good. Still it’s a narrow strip for an Ecological Network and the gaps in the Green Belt cover already more than 50%. Will it be possible to bridge the gaps and safeguard and develop the European Green Belt and other Ecological Networks? This is a huge task. Therefore the multifunctional approach of Ecological Network development with emphasis on synergies and win-win situations offers an enormous chance to raise acceptance, to go in the public, the civil society, involve the stakeholders, the affected policies. This offers also potential for a more sustainable land use and development in general for a long term benefit of society and future. On the other hand it seems an almost impossible challenge to develop and secure Ecological Networks under today’s given policy circumstances: therefore ecological specialist knowledge (with a global and a local point of view) should be combined with openness, interest and continuous learning about other fields of knowledge. This more technical knowledge then again should be enriched with a social and political vision and knowledge, communication and action (with a global and a local point of view). Once again all this knowledge and these abilities need to be rounded up with a high human personal development to moderate, participate, integrate, accompany and lead successfully in a positive way. Let´s take the chance.

Rob H.G. Jongman ECOLOGICAL NETWORKS: A SOCIETY APPROACH FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ECOLOGICAL NETWORKS: A SOCIETY APPROACH FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ABSTRACT Rob H.G. Jongman, Alterra Wageningen UR PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands e-mail: rob.jongman@wur.nl The decline of nature in the last century has led to a major decline in biodiversity. One answer lies in the ecological network systems that have mitigated partly the decline of biodiversity and natural depletion. This paper discusses the development of the ecological networks at European level and the actual challenges for the future. The need for habitat connectivity systems is determined by speciesspecific factors, the landscape and land use. I conclude that the challenges for the future realization of ecological networks in Europe require three parallel initiatives: develop a better ecological knowledge, create political and social consensus and work on cooperation between policy sectors. Better ecological knowledge is the easiest element of this; much harder is it to develop consensus and cooperation as here social and political interests compete. 1 INTRODUCTION In a large part of Europe structured development of urban and rural areas, landscape management, water management, road planning, agricultural development and conservation of natural areas have taken place for over hundred years. The main objective was to organise an efficient land use, which could fulfil all required functions in the most efficient way within a country. “Environment” comprises in its broadest sense the totality of all factors that are of importance for living species and living communities. It refers to the social and psychological environment of man. It is necessary to take natural resources and their mutual relations in consideration in landscape planning. This implies also a close relationship between the use of natural resources, environmental management and spatial and landscape planning. Environmental conservation and environmental management include not only technical environmental protection such as air and water purification, but also the conservation of functional ecological systems and their variety in spatial forms in their totality. Environmental and landscape planning for safeguarding and development of natural resources are priority issues for national and regional authorities. The objective of spatial planning is to organise functions and space in such a way that it shows the best mutual relationship or, to develop human and natural potentials in a spatial framework in such a way, that all can develop as well as possible [1]. Although the objectives of nature conservation were agreed by society, it was the industrialisation in agriculture, the changes in landscape structure, the development of transport infrastructure and the development of larger conurbations that made nature and biodiversity deteriorate further. The declining quality of nature, the declining size of natural areas and the fragmentation were the pressures that caused the decline of biodiversity in both west and Eastern Europe [2, 3]. In this paper we deal with ecological network approaches that developed in Europe in the last forty years aiming for biodiversity conservation. The role of connectivity and connectedness in the modern fragmented European landscape is discussed. This leads to the 3

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The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps
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