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ALTER-Net: A Long-Term Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network

Europe’s ecosystem research network


Statements and questions on Target 1

EU-target 1: Fully implement EU nature legislation


Statement 1: Present-day Natura2000 is not a coherent network but a patchwork of individual sites

  1. What connectivity criteria for habitats and species can science deliver to make the Natura2000 network a true network, that ensures (best chances for) favourable status in the long run?
  2. How should Europe deal with inter-state and inter-biogeographical region connectivity, that is needed to accomplish a sustainable favourable status of habitats and species?
  3. How should the Natura2000 network be managed and organized in a way that it provides adequate opportunities for the maintenance and spontaneous movement at different biological organization levels (ecosystem; community; population; gene)?
  4. What should be done to make Natura2000 a climate-proof network?
  5. How should genetic characteristics of species populations be included in the evaluation of the favourable species status?


Statement 2 : Good implementation of Natura2000 is impossible without good and coherent scientific knowledge in all member states

  1. How can we achieve compatibility and comparability of favourable and unfavourable status of habitats and species all over Europe, to allow a sound evaluation at the European level?
  2. Are there easy-to-measure proxies for the evaluation of habitat and species status that are applicable throughout Europe?
  3. Can science deliver unequivocal concepts and definitions that are applicable all over Europe?
  4. What instruments can be applied to control what’s happening in the Natura2000 sites as far as land-use change and their habitat and species impact is concerned?
  5. Can science develop regionally and locally applicable monitoring and evaluation methods that can be applied by all member states, that take into consideration the diverse levels of scientific knowledge, and that will lead to a sound evaluation at the European level?
  6. Could management measures and status of habitats be evaluated through monitoring of environmental conditions, instead of the end-of-the-line biotic response variables? (Since the latter are often difficult to measure, and can often hardly be managed at all, because of their typically hard-to-control biological characteristics).


Statement 3 : Protecting nature for its intrinsic value is not delivering.  A successful strategy is to better adapt to market economies and develop Natural Capital as a tradable good

  1. What clear-cut criteria can science deliver to allow the use of systems, such as habitat-banking, to compensate for probable losses of fragmented and isolated habitats and populations, given the unfavourable cost-benefit ratio of measures that need to be taken to maintain these sustainably?
  2. What are the best and the easiest applicable instruments to evaluate whether biodiversity patterns match with ecosystem services patterns at different resolution levels (continental, regional, local)?
  3. What scientific sound methods could be developed that will lead to an increase of societal involvement in and awareness of biodiversity issues and ecosystem values?
  4. How can sociological and economy-driven scientists be convinced that biodiversity is a sociological and economic issue?

LinkedInWe will soon open a discussion around these statements and questions at our LinkedIn group.