Linear Infrastructure Networks with Ecological Solutions
Project summary and main aims
The proposed project aims to essay, evaluate and disseminate practices directed at mitigation of negative effects from transport/energy infrastructures in wild fauna and simultaneously promote the creation, along them, of a demonstrative Green Infrastructure, based in corridors and stepping stones that can increment connectivity and improve conservation of local/regional biodiversity. Its target area is one of the main transport/energy corridors linking Portugal to Spain. The project feeds from solid knowledge on existing fauna/flora in the project area and years of roadkill monitoring and from an unusual situation in the project’s socioeconomic setting, including participation of the several stakeholders dealing with the project’s problems and responsibilities to solve them (including builders/managers of linear infrastructures, public/private bodies, with local/national aims, supported by universities of publicly recognized value).
The proposed strategy is based on concepts that result from research of the coordinating beneficiary in the field of mapping landscape functional and structural connectivity, for the target fauna species, having into account their movements and habitat use/preferences. This will be used, for the first time, as a decision support tool with practical conservation aims.
To ensure its targets the project will solve a set of formerly identified problems including those of connectivity, roadkill and barrier effects of transport infrastructures, mortality in power lines, absence of refuges and corridors, scarcity of publicly available decision support data and control of exotic flora. This will be achieved through a set of conservation actions, designed under an integrated vision for the whole area, most of which with a demonstrative or innovative character. For proper evaluation of results, monitoring is also outlined, including ecological, ecosystem functioning and socioeconomic assessments.
The project also includes a set of communication and dissemination actions, targeted at various audiences and including training of agents dealing with the lifecycle of infrastructures, technical seminars of European scope and networking. Overall, one expects replication of the project works, including the creation of analogous Green Infrastructures elsewhere, promoting connectivity and improving the delivery of associated ecosystem functions and services to society.
The work is based on a deep knowledge of the fauna / flora of the project area grounded on years of data collection on the distribution of species and wildlife mortality on existing infrastructures. The intervention is based on the application, for the first time in an integrated way including support to decision and implementation of conservation measures, of maps of landscape connectivity which are drawn up for several species based on their movement and/or habitat preferences.