Mountainous areas are known to be centers of biodiversity and biodiversity conservation. In Europe this is true for the Alps which extend to 8 countries. Together with the impacts of climate change, the ever rising quest for development by population and economy leads to the urgent need of taking action on a transnational level. Hence, articles in this publication ask for the specific challenges and possible solutions regarding the protection of this special habitat.
ALPARC has contributed with two articles to this magazine. The article “Protected areas in the Alpine Arc and their gaps” illustrates the current situation of protected areas in the Alps, their geographical distribution and the type of protection they provide. Although an important part of the alpine territory is covered by some type of protected area, shortcomings with regard to certain habitats (forests, near-nature rivers, lower altitudinal levels) can be observed. A lack of standardized terminology and harmonized objectives is also an obstacle to cross-border comparison. These and further aspects are critically analyzed and discussed by recognized alpine experts.
The article “The contribution of ecological connectivity to a Green Economy in the Alps” presents potential socio-economic dimensions of activities aiming to improve ecological connectivity in alpine areas. Pilot Regions for Ecological Connectivity of the Alpine Convention implement measures to conserve and restore ecological connectivity at a local level. These activities not only have positive ecological effects but also contribute to a certain extent to the economic development of the regions. By highlighting functional chains, a selection of good practice examples illustrates the contribution of these actions to a Green Economy in the Alpine area and showcases the potential for planning and implementing ecological connectivity measures for the development of new and innovative regional offers.