Trans-European Wildlife Network

Make way for Europe's wildlife

© Hans Glader
© Hans Glader

The ever-growing density of traffic is a phenomenon right across Europe. The need for new and wider roads is correspondingly large. In view of the breathtaking pace at which transport infrastructure is being constructed, above all in Central and Southern Europe, the issue of landscape fragmentation is of increasingly urgent importance. Most affected are the widely roaming species such as wolf, bear and lynx and their prey. Roads and railways form insurmountable barriers for them and cause populations to be cut off from one another and reduced to such small areas that their survival in the long term is at risk.



Creating a safety net for Wolf & co.

To counter this development in 2008 EuroNatur set up the “Trans-European Wildlife Network” (TEWN) project in cooperation with the Frankfurt Zoological Society. The goal of the project is to curb the fragmentation of contiguous stretches of country on the Balkan peninsula in order to preserve them for large predators such as wolf, bear and lynx.



Making good use of valuable knowledge

In the long run this goal will only be achievable if it is possible to influence traffic planning to take Wolf & Co. into consideration. The outlook is promising because in cooperation with project partners in Poland and Croatia EuroNatur has already developed and implemented effective concepts with which the devastating impact of transport infrastructure on large mammals can be kept within reasonable bounds or even avoided. In the framework of the TEWN project these valuable insights have been transferred to Bulgaria and Romania to improve the state of nature conservation in these two countries.

What we have so far been able to achieve – a selection of important successes:

 

  • We have set up a knowledge-sharing network: At conferences and seminars representatives of all relevant institutions such as nature conservation organisations, ministries, universities or planning offices have been able to share knowledge and experience. Step by step we have been able to build up an international network of experts on the subject of landscape fragmentation.
  • We have encouraged cooperation: After a conference organized by EuroNatur in November 2011 in Sofia in Bulgaria, the participating representatives of road construction agencies signaled their willingness to work closely in future with those representing nature conservation.
  • We created a setting for dialogue: At a conference organised by EuroNatur in November 2009 in Bucharest, in Romania, it was possible for the first time to set up a round table with transport planners and nature conservationists. There is more need for them to enter into dialogue here than in Bulgaria. To foster this dialogue in the summer of 2010 EuroNatur organised an excursion to Croatia for transport specialists and nature conservationists. In the course of this trip they saw various measures which successfully help combine transport planning and nature conservation. The experience of the excursion also contributed to a better understanding between the two parties.
  • Clear suggestions for action: National case studies were carried out for the project countries Bulgaria and Romania. These offer guidelines and explain to decision makers how the protection of large mammals can be taken into consideration when planning transport infrastructure.
  • Practical reference works: The knowledge gathered over years in projects in Poland, Croatia and Slovakia has been summarized in a handbook for Europe: the TEWN Manual. The manual is a hands-on guide and is designed to help those wishing to find effective measures against fragmentation and to show how to implement them and carry out reliable tests of their success.


Partners within the project ”Trans-European Wildlife Networks“ and the authors of the Manual: EuroNatur (D), Zoological Society, Frankfurt (D), Institute for Landscape Management at the Albert Ludwig University (D), “Milvus” Association for Bird and Nature Protection (RO), “Wolf” Association for Nature (PL), Balkani Wildlife Society (BG), Biology Department, Veterinary Faculty, University of Zagreb (HR), Carpathian Wildlife Society (SK), Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Science (PL)

Sponsorship: DBU- German Foundation for the Environment, EuroNatur donors and sponsors

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