Action A.3 – Analysis of spatial connectivity and preparation of environmental impact assessment guidelines
Habitat for any species is divided into suitable habitat patches, unsuitable habitat, where individuals can move through but will not permanently reside, and barriers that hinder free movements. This results in a fragmentation of landscapes. Barriers and unsuitable habitat can be natural features (rivers, high mountain ridges, lakes etc.) and human developments such as highways, industrial areas and settlements.
Habitat loss and fragmentation are two of the major threats for endangered species worldwide. There are two ways to tackle this problem – restoration and prevention. In general, prevention is the cheaper way, but sometimes restoration is necessary. Both requires a thorough understanding of habitat needs of bears and this can be used for environmental impact assessment studies (EIA).
The partners in this project collected already a considerable amount of movement data of brown bears in former projects, such as GPS locations and genetic data. Here we will merge them with newly obtained data and analyse them as a single comprehensive dataset the first time. From the results we will be able to derive guidelines for landscape planning, which will allow the preservation of habitat connectivity on a large scale in four adjacent countries.
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