ID56: Safeguarding open spaces in the Alps
Mountain areas such as the European Alps feature a comparatively high degree of undeveloped open spaces, which provide important ecosystem services. However many open spaces are threatened by the continuous land take for settlements, infrastructure and tourism development and therefore increasing landscape fragmentation. The session is supposed to shed light on different approaches for the safeguarding of interconnected open space systems, which play a crucial role in ensuring ecological connectivity in the Alps. Especially the relation of nature conservation approaches (mainly protected areas) and integrated spatial planning will be highlighted. While protected areas are highly suitable to safeguard the core areas of a “green infrastructure” system, spatial planning is required to establish relevant links and corridors in more densely populated areas. Therefore, mountain research needs to better analyse the potentials for harmonising and coordinating nature conservation and spatial planning in the “Global Green Deal” context.
Abstract ID 158 | Date: 2022-09-14 13:30 – 13:50 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room SR1 |
Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Germany
Keywords: Spatial Planning, Gis, Nature Conservation, Planning Support System
Powerful geographic information systems (GIS) are becoming increasingly important for supporting spatial planning through geodata-based analyses. When these applications are designed in such a way that they are tailored to concrete planning and decision-making processes, they are referred to in the literature as "planning support systems" (PSS). In the field of land use planning, there are numerous scientific studies that propose a model application of PSS. In contrast to "regular" geospatial analytical tools, PSS may also feature a normative dimension by proposing concrete planning specifications based on methods of multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA). This paper focuses on the question of how qualitative (biotope connectivity and functional connectivity), structural (landscape fragmentation and structural connectivity) and quantitative (minimum area sizes) nature and biodiversity conservation concerns can be included in PSS at a supra-local planning level (e.g. regional planning). This shall contribute to the understanding of how the ecological component of a supra-local open space network can be scientifically analysed in GIS and prepared for a concrete application in spatial planning practice. This also includes the analysis of existing planning instruments, how they already take into account ecological connectivity and how they incorporate it into their methodology for delimiting certain (priority) areas. In addition to a discussion of available data, selected indicators are spatially modelled and presented for regional cases from the Bavarian and Austrian Alps. The presentation is structured according to the following guiding questions:
- Which databases, geodata and indicators are available/suitable?
- How can the selected indicators be modelled comprehensively and weighted against each other?
- How can the results be coordinated with other spatial planning concerns (e.g. settlement expansion for residential and commercial purposes) in regional planning procedures?
Abstract ID 859 | Date: 2022-09-14 13:50 – 14:10 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room SR1 |
Egarter Vigl, Lukas; Giombini, Valentina; Simion, Heidi; Marsoner, Thomas
Eurac Research, Institute for Alpine Environment, Italy
Keywords: Green Infrastructure, Ecosystem Services, Multifunctionality, Ecological Connectivity, Open Spaces, European Alps
The impact of human activities on, most notably, biodiversity and the carbon and nitrogen cycles are pushing humanity out of a safe operating space, undermining the resilience of many socio-ecological mountain systems worldwide. The adoption and implementation of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) such as Green Infrastructure (GI), however, has the potential not only to foster the sustainable management of our resources, but also to enhance the delivery of benefits, or ecosystem services (ES), to society. Ecosystems and natural features can indeed provide several environmental, socio-economic, and biodiversity benefits which can help address the societal challenges of today. In this context, the concept of multifunctional GI networks fosters strategic planning at landscape level and the sustainable management of individual GI elements. By proposing a practical approach for mapping GI networks in several pilot regions across the Alpine Space cooperation area, we aim to highlight how the concept of GI can enable practitioners and researchers to enhance multifunctionality, develop tailored management strategies, and harness synergies between ES and policy goals. To this end, we spatially explicitly map several ES, assess ecosystem multifunctionality, and combine these findings with an ecological connectivity analysis to identify potential GI networks. Our analyses provide high-resolution and targeted information showcasing key multifunctional features in urban, agricultural, forested, and open areas, highlighting critical corridors for regional and transboundary ecological connectivity. In agricultural landscapes, green linear elements and woody features support connectivity and important regulating services, such as pollination. The present mapping approach can support decision-makers and practitioners in conserving, restoring and sustainably managing our natural resources effectively and efficiently. The inclusion of not only provisioning, but also regulating and cultural ecosystem services provided by different landscape features allows to maximise the synergies but also to navigate the conflicts occurring between different ES, sectoral policies, and stakeholders' interests. In this context, the consideration of both ecosystem service-based multifunctionality and ecological connectivity can support decision-makers in meeting the EU policy goals outlined in both the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategy for 2030.
Abstract ID 796 | Date: 2022-09-14 14:10 – 14:30 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room SR1 |
Codemo, Anna; Mannocci, Silvia; Favargiotti, Sara; Ricci, Mosè
University of Trento, Italy
Keywords: Green Open Spaces, Land Take, Vegetation Mapping, Spatial Planning, Sustainable Land-Use Transformations
Green areas have a key role to deliver ecosystem services and preserve life quality. They contribute to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, by cooling, reducing runoff and limiting energy consumptions for air conditioning.
In recent years, a phenomenon of increasing urbanization and land take has been observed in Trento and its Province, an alpine region in the north of Italy, leading to the reduction of open spaces. Moreover, according to a recent analysis conducted in Trento, the number of abandoned or underused buildings have been growing. In this framework, spatial planning tools are envisaged to protect not only the rich natural areas of the hillsides but also corridors and green spaces in the densely populated areas, especially in the valley floors.
The study is developed within the framework of the Trento Urban Transformation (TUT) research project, which aims to propose innovative, adaptive and incremental planning tools to allow flexibility, preparedness to extreme events, and capacity to learn from the past. The proposed plan draws on a new vision, namely "Trento Leaf Plan", which has an important communicative role by clearly setting out the ecological transition on future development and by highlighting the important role of open spaces. It defines a strategic vision to cope with urban challenges and to manage the diversity of territory within the Municipality.
The paper focuses on two tools that have been experimented: a spatially explicit vegetation assessment model, and the integration of environmental criteria in planning tools to limit land consumption.
The former constitutes a simple and replicable model to map permeability and canopy cover from high spatial resolution aerial imagery and Digital Elevation Models. The tool can be introduced in the policy cycle, for example to manage and monitor through time green infrastructure, to map ecosystem services and to plan land-use transformations.
The latter consists of a method to manage sustainable land-use transformations and to integrate green infrastructure management in the planning process, by introducing specific requirements for urban transformations that guarantee no land take or the exploitation of specific ecosystem services.
The use of the presented tools can be valuable for policy makers to manage land-use transformations and to integrate green conservation strategies in planning practices. In conclusion, the contribution provides a case study to enrich the debate about management and implementation of green open spaces in the alpine areas and to give scientific support for sustainable urban planning.
Abstract ID 542 | Date: 2022-09-14 14:30 – 14:50 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room SR1 |
Job, Hubert (1); Marius, Mayer (2)
1: Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Germany
2: University of Innsbruck, Austria
Keywords: Open Spaces, Spatial Planning, Protected Areas, Tourism, European Alps
In the Alps, large-scale protected areas exist now for more than a century and spatial planning instruments seek to prevent development of ecologically sensitive areas for about half a century, depending on the respective country. However, it remains open for discussion whether both approaches have succeeded in preserving significant parts of the Alps from intensive human development so that these areas still generate their considerable ecosystem services for people living in the Alps and their forelands. This is of utmost importance given that the Alps are not only one of the most densely populated and developed mountain areas worldwide but also the mountain range with the highest tourism intensity.
Therefore, this contribution aims at providing an introduction into the focus session "Connecting protected areas – safeguarding open spaces in mountain areas by spatial planning" by
a) highlighting why Alpine open spaces are relevant, endangered and need additional safeguarding on top of the existing network of protected areas.
b) explaining why protected areas alone cannot provide the necessary open spaces in the Alps, especially not in densely populated valleys where several human land uses overlap.
c) giving an overview of existing spatial planning approaches to safeguard open spaces respectively to reduce the fragmentation of open spaces by limiting settlement/ infrastructure development and further land take. We will concentrate on the Bavarian 'Alpenplan' (Germany) and the Tyrolean 'Ruhegebiete' (Austria) but also mention known approaches from the other Alpine countries and regions.
d) exemplifying to what extent both protected areas and spatial planning approaches were able to safeguard open spaces and to resist to development projects, with a specific focus on tourism development projects in alpine and high-alpine altitudes.
e) showcasing how the areas covered by spatial planning approaches overlap with the protected area network to demonstrate that they provide additional and sometimes more strict protection compared to the weaker protected area categories.
f) critically discussing and comparing the strengths and weaknesses of protected areas and spatial planning approaches to safeguard alpine open spaces including avenues of future research about this topic.
We argue that these approaches applied in the Alps could serve as best-practice examples for other mountain areas around the globe (Himalayas, Andes, Caucasus, Carpathians etc.) where the level of development is still less intense compared to the Alps and where mountain tourism destinations are still in the phase of growth and spatial expansion.