Together with key stakeholders, NaturaConnect will co-develop and create knowledge, tools and capacity building programmes to support European Member States in implementing an ecologically representative, resilient and well-connected trans-European nature network (TEN-N), that builds on the existing network of European protected areas and Green and Blue Infrastructure.

Funded by the European Union Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme, this project, coordinated by the IIASA Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation group, will support the EU and its Member States in realizing the EU strategy for protected areas. 

Through research, engagement and dissemination activities at the European scale and in a set of six case studies, we will elicit stakeholders’ visions and preferences about conservation objectives, tap into best practices in protected areas management and mechanisms for conservation financing, mobilize data and test the TEN-N spatial prioritization analyses and tools produced by NaturaConnect. This addresses two major obstacles identified by the EU Nature Legislation Fitness Check: lack of stakeholder awareness and cooperation, and insufficient knowledge and access to existing funding mechanisms.

NaturaConnect will further address a third major obstacle: The limited availability of knowledge on biodiversity distribution, drivers of change and conservation solutions. To address this, NaturaConnect brings together a consortium of top European scientists, policy experts and NGOs to produce and mobilize relevant data and knowledge. This includes refining and applying state-of-the-art models on biodiversity, ecosystem services and environmental change across Europe under current and future climate and land-use conditions. Integrated conservation and restoration planning approaches will be utilized to identify, spatially map and evaluate areas that are most suitable to improve the existing protected area network in Europe.

Equipped with improved data, knowledge, models and spatial planning methods the project will further identify gaps in protected area coverage, connectivity and resilience under climate and land-use change. NaturaConnect will develop and make available scenarios for an expansion of protected areas and buffer zones, establishment of ecological corridors and other areas of connectivity that address these gaps, thereby offering a blue-print for realizing a truly resilient and coherent TEN-N. In addition, NaturaConnect will provide knowledge and decision support for policy, financing and implementation of TEN-N at all relevant scales. 

Project partners: 

  • MARTIN-LUTHER-UNIVERSITAT
  • UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI ROMA LA SAPIENZA
  • MINISTERIE VAN INFRASTRUCTUUR
  • STICHTING VU
  • ASSOCIACAO BIOPOLIS
  • UEVORA UNIVERSIDADE DE EVORA
  • AGENCIA ESTATAL CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE NVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS
  • HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO
  • CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
  • STICHTING BIRDLIFE EUROPE
  • BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL
  • EUROPARC FODERATION DER NATUR-UND NATIONALPARKE EUROPAS EV
  • HUMBOLDT-UNIVERSITAET ZU BERLIN
  • INSTITUTE FOR EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
  • STICHTING REWILDING EUROPE
  • UMWELTORGANISATION WWF CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
  • ASOCIATIA WWF ROMANIA
  • WWF VILAG TERMESZETI ALAP MAGYARORSZAG ALAPITVANY
  • SUOMEN YMPARISTOKESKUS
  • UNIVERSITAET FUER BODENKULTUR WIEN
  • UNIWERSYTET WARSZAWSKI
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