Following a large participatory work involving more than 150 scientists across the entire alpine Arc the article "The 50 most Important Questions relating to the Maintenance and Restoration of an Ecological Continuum in the European Alps " was finally published in January 2013 in the scientific open access journal PLoS One.
In order to keep this cooperation dynamics on the topic of ecological connectivity alive and to propose first answers to the questions raised in the article, a dozen scientists and practitioners came together in Innsbruck the 26th and 27th March 2014, in the frame of the Platform Ecological Network of the Alpine Convention, for a Workshop on the topic "Take advantage of land use change for improving connectivity".
Land use change scenarios in Switzerland (based on climate and demographic changes) and their effects on ecological networks have been discussed and experiences from Switzerland, Italy and France on the transfer of knowledge between science and practice shared. All participants underlined the difficulties to get in contact with politicians on this topic and to exchange with farmers, who often only see a reduction of their productive land caused by the creation of hedges or fallow ground in the activities carried out for connectivity improvement. Science must be mobilized in order to better share their results on ecosystem service provided by connectivity for example.
Discussion show different points of interest for the alpine countries :
- the difficulties for mobilizing politicians and citizens for activities that are not directly linked to concrete implementation activities on local level;
- lack of available data for transnational analysis;
- the need to take in account predictable land use changes and not limit the planning of ecological networks to the current land use situation ;
- the importance of further studies on the costs of conservation versus the costs of restoration of destructed habitats also considering the their capacity to deliver ecosystem services.