Alpine protected areas play a key role in the conservation of biodiversity but as well in the monitoring of species and habitats. Only protected areas can insure long-time monitoring over many years with professional equipment and staff on the ground far beyond normal scientific project durations. This feature makes protected areas so precious for sciences, for the development of management measures and their testing but as well for political decisions concerning the conservation of biodiversity.
Alpine protected areas should join their forces to develop a common transboundary monitoring system of species and habitats allowing an evaluation of the evolution of alpine ecosystems and biodiversity under the light of climate change for the next generation. ALPARC's latest General Assembly has approved principle of an international long-term monitoring of habitats and species (selected indicator species according to management and conservation goals of alpine protected areas) and propose the creation of a specific working group of protected area managers associating interested scientists to develop and test such a system during the period 2022-2025.
Several parks already made proposals, such as the Gran Paradiso National Park, in favor of an Alps-wide monitoring of the Otter.
The last observations of Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in the Alpine region go back to the late seventies, in relation to the decrease of the species observed in most of Europe. Causes behind this decrease are the same: habitat destruction, direct persecution of the species and, maybe in a smaller quote for the protected area, pollution of the aquatic ecosystem. But, while in the last years otters are naturally recovering throughout most of the European countries, in the Alpine region this phenomenon is absent or slowed down. [...] This may suggests that the actual conservation strategies are not enough to consistently favour the presence of the species across the Alpine region, which, anyway, represents a fundamental corridors for the expansion of the otters in Europe.[...] Making the point on distribution and conservation status of the otter in the Alpine region is the first step towards possible European strategies aimed at promoting the expansion and conservation of the species, also through the protection of its habitat.*
*Mountain Ecology vol 13 (2020) : read more