Talk Designing a network of wildlife corridors across heterogeneous mountain landscape – the Carpathian case study

The Carpathian Mountains forming an arc roughly 1.500 km across seven states provide the habitat for some of the largest European populations of brown bears, grey wolves and Eurasian lynx, with the highest concentration in Romania. However, Ukrainian, Romanian and even Slovakian parts of Carpathians suffer from the lack of the functional nature protection and the effective landscape management. Several protected areas including the large number of NATURA 2000 sites have been declared, but their spatial design recalls rather patchwork instead of coherent network.

Populations of large carnivores with enormous spatial requirements and extensive dispersal and migratory needs are widely endangered by rapid development of roads and motorways creating long impermeable barriers across the Carpathians. As new traffic projects are planned on supra-national level, the same scale is needed for designing an extensive system of wildlife corridors.

Habitat suitability models for brown bear, grey wolf and Eurasian lynx were used to delineate core habitat areas and stepping stones important for dispersal. The Circuit Theory was applied for assessment of landscape connectivity and finally a coherent network of wildlife corridors was designed.

Proposal of such green infrastructure was presented to regional authorities and stakeholders, to provide them with relevant information for negotiations with road and motorways planners.

habitat suitability, connectivity modelling, fragmentation