About the project.

ECONNECT is funded by the EU within the framework of the ETC Alpine Space Programme and co-funded by ERDF; the project implementation period goes from September 2008 to August 2011. The total financing of the project amounts to 3.198.240,00€.
ECONNECT strives towards an ecological continuum across the Alps. Therefore, besides protected areas as core zones, it is essential to focus on linking these areas in order to achieve connectivity between alpine ecosystems. To achieve an ecological continuum across the Alps, the ECONNECT project will consider not just the purely naturalistic aspects (such as, for example, sustainable land use) but also the economic and social dimensions which are just as important in promoting ecological networks.

Project objectives.

The main objective is the protection of biodiversity in the Alps through an integrated and multidisciplinary approach aimed at encouraging the promotion of an ecological continuum across the Alpine region. Particular attention will be given to the regions high in biodiversity value to establish and increase the links between them and towards other neighbouring ecoregions (e.g. the Mediterranean or Carpathian regions).
To achieve these objectives the project will carry out a number of specific actions falling under three major categories:

Information gathering:
  • harmonise geographical data across participating countries
  • analyse existing physical and legal barriers to the establishment of ecological corridors
  • define migration corridors between high value biodiversity areas in the Alps and links to other ecoregions

Action on the ground:
  • create, approve and test a methodological approach for the establishment of ecological corridors and promote this procedure across the alpine region
  • strengthen the cooperation between relevant institutions
  • apply concepts and action to pilot regions of high biodiversity value

  • raise awareness about the importance of ecological connectivity
  • spread results of the process being carried out

Methodological approach.

ECONNECT is based on a holistic approach for the development of ecological networks, integrating administrative, multinational and scientific institutions. It is foreseen to provide an Alpine-wide overview on the areas important to ecological connectivity by referring to quantitive and qualitative information on selected sites (core areas) and the level of interconnectivity between them (corridors). Natural, social and economic barriers to the establishment of connectivity will also be identified and proposals will be made on how to overcome them.
Since the idea of ecological connectivity also refers to non-protected areas, attention will be paid both to how policies may affect their establishment and how the ecological networks may in turn affect spatial/infrastructure development and economic activities.