ECONNECT - From ecological islands to ecological networks in the Alps

Alpine Convention
One of many physical barriers
Highway bridges allow a safe crossing for wildlife
Typical fragmented Alpine valley
Bears are a species that needs migration corridors
Pilot region Northern Limestone Alps-cultural region Eisenwurzen
Pilot region Berchtesgaden-Salzburg

ECONNECT was financed within the framework of the ETZ Alpine Space Programme of the EU and co-financed by the European Fund EFRE.  ECONNECT aimed at an "ecological continuum" in the Alps.  To achieve this it is important to create connections between protected areas to increase the permeability of the Alpine landscape.  To create an ecological continuum in the Alps the ECONNECT-Project took into account not only ecological dimensions (such as sustainable land use and management), but also social and economic dimensions, which are equally important for the promotion of ecological connectivity. 

Project goals

The primary goal of the project was the maintenance of Alpine biodiversity through an integrated, inter-disciplinary approach that maintains an ecological continuum in the Alps.  Special attention was paid to biodiversity-rich areas to (re-)create and maintain connections between them and neighbouring ecoregions (e.g. to the Mediterranean and to the Carpathians). 

To reach these goals the project team took specific actions that fall into three general categories:

Data collection:

  • Harmonising geographic data from all participating countries
  • Analysis of physical and legal barriers to the implementation of ecological connectivity
  • Identification of connections between biodiversity-rich areas in the Alps, as well as the creation of networks with other ecoregions

On-site activities:

  • Development, testing and implementation of a method for restoring ecological connectivity throughout the Alpine Arc
  • Strengthening of collaboration among relevant organizations
  • Implementation of innovative concepts and measures in biodiversity-rich pilot regions


  • Awareness raising aobut the importance of ecological connectivity
  • Dissemination of the ECONNECT project´s results

Of course the project´s tasks did not end with the project, they require long-term sustained action.  A successor project is already in the planning stages.

Here you can read articles about the project 8


Duration: September 2008 - November 2011

External project website 9

Project partners 10

Wissenschaftlicher Kontakt am FIWI: Christian Walzer, Forschungsinstitut für Wildtierkunde und Ökologie / Vetmeduni Vienna, Tel.:+43 (1) 4890915180, Email: chris.walzer(at)

More info 11



EU ETZ Alpenraumprogramm
EU European Regional Development Fund


The final conference


After three years of research and field work the European project ECONNECT, which dealt with questions of ecological connectivity in the Alpine space, has ended:  the results of the final conference 13


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