C.7 Habitat Connectivity and Suitability

Posted on Dec 21, 2017

Integration of Potential Lynx Habitat Connectivity and Suitability into National and International Spatial Planning

Successful reinforcement and long-term viability of lynx in the SE Alps and Dinaric Mts. is in part dependent on demographic exchange and gene flow between populations. The goal of this action is to identify and integrate spatial information on lynx habitat connectivity into national and international-level planning. While legislation and procedures concerning spatial planning are well developed, there is still a gap in expert knowledge when it comes to ensuring connectivity between habitat patches for lynx. The EIA guidelines will be used in future spatial planning and as a tool to prevent further fragmentation.

The knowledge obtained in preparatory actions on habitat suitability, spatial connectivity, and dispersal opportunities for lynx in the  Dinaric-SE Alpine population, as well as with neighbouring populations, will be transformed into: (1) a user-friendly handbook “Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Guidelines for Eurasian Lynx Habitat Connectivity” that will contain the data and recommendations for EIAs for lynx within the entire genetic range of Dinaric-SE Alpine population and (2) International Guidelines for Establishing Connectivity between Swiss Alpine, Dinaric/SE Alpine, and Balkan populations.

We will conduct a seminar for spatial planners (traffic/infrastructure, forestry, urbanization, agriculture) and relevant companies to present our guidelines on lynx connectivity so that these critical data can be incorporated into future EIAs. At the seminar, held in Slovenia and Croatia, project experts will present and explain the main principles of “lynx-friendly” spatial planning.

International guidelines for establishing meta-population connectivity of lynx populations in the Alps, Dinarics, and Balkan will be prepared based on final reports and scientific papers (in A6). Guidelines will be elaborated on during an international meeting of managers and scientists from countries in the Alps and western Balkan (10 countries) under the auspices of experts from the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe (LCIE) and competent ministries or governmental institutions from countries involved.