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  • Ecological corridors and buffer zones 1

    The Wider Landscape for Nature Conservation:ecological corridors and buffer zones

    MN2.7 PROJECT REPORT 1995submitted to the European Topic Centre for Nature Conservation in

    Fulfilment of the 1995 Work Programme

    edited by R.H.G. Jongman and A.Y. Troumbis

    European Centre for Nature Conservation

    This Report includes an updated version of the discussion document for the workshopmeeting at the Centro Gonzlez Bernldez in Soto del Real (Spain):Troumbis, A.Y., Farjon, J.M.J., Miklos, L., Mugica, M., and Jongman, R.H.G. 1995.Buffer zones and Ecological corridors. A Report to the European Topic Centre for Nature.

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    Content

    1 Report of the Working Group..........................................................................................41.1 Introduction ..................................................................................................41.2 The project team and the work process .......................................................41.3 The general framework of the project..........................................................61.4 Corridors and Buffer Zones .........................................................................71.5 Core areas and their environment................................................................7

    1.5.1 European policy.................................................................................71.5.2 Spatial strategies for nature conservation ........................................91.5.3 Buffer zones .....................................................................................131.5.4 Ecological corridors.........................................................................15 1.5.5 Implementation ...............................................................................17

    2. Spatial strategies for nature conservation. ............................................................212.1 Introduction ................................................................................................212.2 Nature conservation and physical planning in The Netherlands .............222.3 Nature conservation and landscape ecology in Slovakia ..........................252.4 Nature conservation and land use in Madrid Region, Spain ...................272.5 The nature conservation directives of the European Union......................27

    3 Buffer zones ............................................................................................................293.1 Definitions ...................................................................................................293.2 Multifunctionality of buffer zones..............................................................303.3 Buffer zones in the European experience: case studies .............................33

    3.3.1 The landscape approach: zoning system for protected areas ........33..........................................................................................................343.3.1.1 The National Park of Abruzzo (Italy). ................................353.3.1.2 The Regional Park of "Cuenca Alta del Manzanares", Madrid

    region, Spain ........................................................................363.3.1.3 The Marine National Park of Vories Sporades, Greece. ....37

    3.3.2 Habitat-based design and ecological function(s) of buffer zones 403.3.2.1 Water retention in Northwestern European wetlands and

    water fed ecosystems............................................................403.3.2.2 Nutrient-buffer areas in The Netherlands ..........................433.3.2.3 Hydrologic buffer zones in the National Ecological Network of

    the Netherlands....................................................................44

    4 Ecological Corridors...............................................................................................464.1 Definitions ...................................................................................................464.2 Ecological and spatial aspects of ecological corridors................................474.3 The European experience in designing ecological corridors: case studies 51

    4.3.1 Possible ecological corridors in mountainous national parks inFrance. .............................................................................................51

    4.3.2 Ecological corridors in the National Ecological Network of MetropolisCentral Netherlands. .......................................................................51

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    4.3.3. Landscape elements as corridors and buffer zones in Madrid region,Spain ................................................................................................55

    5 Criteria and procedures .........................................................................................625.1 Ecological networks in Europe ...................................................................625.2 Implementation of ecological corridors and buffer zones ...............................645.3 Procedural guidelines..................................................................................665.4 Planning challenges.....................................................................................68

    6 References...............................................................................................................73

    Annex 1...............................................................................................................................76

    Annex 2...............................................................................................................................77

  • Ecological corridors and buffer zones 4

  • Ecological corridors and buffer zones 5

    1 Report of the Working Group

    1.1 Introduction

    This report is the product of a joint effort of the network members of the ECNC on arequest of the European Environmental Agency to the European Topic Centre for NatureConservation (ETC/NC). The aim of this project is to develop criteria for identification ofecological corridors and buffer zones in support to national activities implementing Natura2000 network. Definitions must be valid and applicable in all European regions andsubregions in ecological context and all countries. This means that Pan-European definitionsand criteria should be developed. It is not possible to cover all Europe within the timeavailable for the project. So it has been decided to emphazise the European Union but alsoto include active participation from Central Europe. The steps in the project have been:1 Preparation of a discussion document to guide an international workshop on

    ecological corridors and buffer zones on the potential role and expected results ofconcepts on ecological corridors and buffer zones in the context of national andinternational nature conservation policies based on existing practical experience onecological corridors and buffer zones designation in relation with the concernedprotected area systems.

    2 In a preliminary meeting a proposal has been made on coherent and widely validdefinitions of ecological corridors and/or buffer zones at the European level. In thispreliminary meeting it has been concluded that criteria are difficult to assess nowbecause of the early phase of international cooperation. However, procedures fordecision making and planning could be proposed.

    3 An international workshop on ecological corridors and buffer zones has been heldat the Centro de Investigaciones de Espacios Naturales Fernando GonzlesBernldez in Soto del Real (Spain) to discuss the discussion document and to findan agreement on:definitions to be used at European level for ecological corridors and buffer zonesconcepts,practical and applicable procedures and criteria for identifying, if appropriate,ecological corridors and buffer zones by the different European countries.

    This report is the result of the workshop in Soto del Real and it reflects the status ofknowledge at this moment.

    The fundamental assumption of this document is that Natura 2000 sites are representativesamples of Europe's biodiversity. Species, their biological characteristics and ecologicalprocesses within the sites have to be subjects of protection and management in order toform a stable ecological network according to the previsions of the Habitats Directive.

    1.2 The project team and the work process

    The project team consists of laboratories that work in this field and that representEurope's geographical diversity:

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    * The Centro Fernando Gonzalez Bernaldez (CIFGB) in Soto del Real, Spain;* The Biodiversity Conservation Laboratory (BCL) of the University of the Aegean

    in Mytilene, Lesbos, Greece;* The Winand Staring Centre, (WSC) of the Dutch Directorate of Agricultural

    Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands;* The Unesco chair on nature conservation awareness of Bansk Stiavnica, Slovakia;* The secretariat of the European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC),

    Tilburg,The Netherlands, that is responsible for coordination and the final editing.In the course of the process active support has been given also by English Nature thatcarried out a long term literature research to ecological corridors. They participatedactively in the process and substantially contributed to this report.

    The first phase was a description of the potential role of buffer zones and corridors in thecontext of national and international nature conservation policies. We interprete this as adescription of the ecological role of buffer zones and corridors (their function and theirimportance) in relation to national