The Ecological Continuum Initiative

Since 2002, a consortium of four major alpine organisations (the Alpine Network of Protected Areas – ALPARC; the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps – CIPRA; the International Scientific Committee Alpine Research – ISCAR and the WWF European Alpine Programme – WWF) is jointly carrying out activities to further the conservation and sustainable use of alpine biodiversity. The consortium introduced a completely new approach to alpine nature conservation by looking at biodiversity from an Alps-wide (as opposed to national or regional) perspective.

Taking this approach a step further, a new initiative – the Ecological Continuum Initiative – financed by the Swiss MAVA Foundation for Nature was started in June 2007. Its aim is to create or restore the ecological connectivity between areas that are important for nature conservation.


The Ecological Continuum Initiative lays the foundations for the long-term implementation of a coherent ecological network in the Alps. The work of the partners is focussed on the following three targets:

  • Initiating, promoting and mentoring activities: Their work andcommitment have led to the establishment of the Platform "Ecological Network" of the Alpine Convention and the ECONNECT project.
  • Providing know-how: A harmonised methodology for the whole of the Alps, a catalogue of potential measures and a databank of publications and information on relevant projects as well as experts available to help representatives of protected areas, public authorities and environmental organisations in their implementation of activities.
  • Awareness-building: The partners are working to convince decisionmakers of the importance of Alps-wide habitat connectivity and to persuade people to make their own contributions to ecological networking.


  • Alpine Ecological Network This website is dedicated on the one hand to the "Ecological Continuum Initiative" of the Consortium ALPARC/CIPRA/ISCAR and on the other hand to the platform "Ecological network" of the Alpine Convention. This website offers a list of publications and events on this topic as well as a search engine to find alpine experts in different thematic fields related to ecological networks.          

Resources linked to the article

Catalogue of possible measures to improve ecological connectivity
 The measure catalogue has been elaborated in the frame of the Ecological Continuum Initiative. It lists 69 exemplary measures from all Alpine countries that can contribute to the implementation of ecological networks. The measures show how areas or structures can be created, conserved or restored so that they can play a role as connecting elements within an ecological network. The measure catalogue has been developed as an instrument to be used by the pilot regions of the Continuum and the ECONNECT projects. Nevertheless it can and should be used by other regions and actors in and outside the Alps who want to improve ecological connectivity. The catalogue gives examples and ideas and practical information such as contact persons and references. Additionally, an evaluation of economic and ecologic aspects has been done for each measure. The catalogue gives also an overview on the sectors and fields that are important when it comes to improving ecological connectivity. An excel table with summarised descriptions of all measures is part of the catalogue. It can be used as a database in order to select…