Ecological network planning

Enlarged and connected ecosystems can counteract fragmentation and help species to cope with threats of climate change and intensified land use. In the European Union, large budgets are spent on planning and realization of such enlarged and connected ecosystems. The process of allocating land for this objective is complex. Technically, the spatial network needs to provide habitats and/or facilitate migration; environmentally, the ecosystem network needs to be strategically located with respect to economic activities in its vicinity; strategically, the ecosystem network should be able to provide as many as possible services besides the promotion of biodiversity; and socially, the acquisition of farmland needs to be done in a way that farmers (both those that sell land and those that remain active in the area) are not duped. The research of the Land Use Planning Group helps policymakers by informing them about the various trade-offs that exist, and helps them to balance the various interests.