Step 1: Formulate the nature conservation target


  • Local knowledge
  • The nature conservation objectives for the plan or design


  • Nature conservation targets, expressed in species terms (ecoprofiles) and the associated spatial requirements (hectares and maximum distances between habitat patches).

What does this entail?

The first question is always: What is your nature conservation objective? Formulate the nature conservation objective as specifically as possible, so that its spatial requirements can be enumerated. For example, the objective “more woodland in the planning area” can be translated into “20 ha extra habitat patch for the Tree Marten” or into the ambitious target (costing more than 20 ha) of “a sustainable population of the Green Woodpecker”. In fact, by so doing you are making the nature conservation objective "SMART" (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely).


The actors directly involved discuss the nature conservation objective, with the help of the Ecoprofiles matrix. The spatial norms in the matrix  are used to test whether the objective is realistic and attainable, given the size of the area and the budget available. If the objective is not realistic, a less ambitious objective (lower ambition level) can be chosen, or attempts can be made to acquire more land or funds, so that the nature conservation objective can be attained after all.


a) Econet

Econet is a knowledge game, that supplies insight in the ecological principles and processes, that are crucial in designing effective ecological networks. The kowledge game is developed for regional actors or representatives of regional organisations and the  landscape architects involved in the planning process.

b) Ecoplanning indicators

Ecoplanning indicators are quality criteria which allow the ecological sustainability of regional plans to become measurable. They have a basis in the ecology and planning theories and can be applied in different situations.

c) Ecoprofiles table:

The animal species are ranked according to the spatial norms for key patches: the area needed and the maximum distance between habitat patches. There are separate matrices for different ecosystems and for species that fly (and are therefore not hampered by roads, etc.). The spatial norms from the matrix are applied in order to attain the sustainable occurrence of species in ecological networks.