“Safeguarding ecological functions across transport infrastructure”
European landscapes are among the most fragmented areas in the world. Natural habitats have been lost, transformed and isolated over many centuries, but the pace and extent of landscape change that we face today is unprecedented. Fragmentation caused by expanding transport infrastructure and urban sprawl is a major cause for the loss of biodiversity, and many of its detrimental effects may still take time to manifest fully.
There is an urgent need for improvement in infrastructure and urban planning, but there is also hope thanks to recent endeavours in European environmental policy and a growing recognition of landscape and biodiversity values in the world. Defragmentation approaches and first steps towards integrative habitat networks have already been implemented in many countries and at EU level, and a concept of green infrastructure is being developed upon which much of the European natural heritage will depend. Where transport and green infrastructures meet, provisions must be made to secure ecological functions while maintaining traffic safety and efficacy.
IENE invited decision makers, scientists and engineers, practitioners and stakeholders to discuss and develop solutions that may safeguard biodiversity and achieve an ecologically sustainable infrastructure.The conference in 2012 seeks to develop improved solutions to safeguard biodiversity and help to execute the “No Net Loss” concept of the EU council.
The IENE 2012 Potsdam Declaration
Participants of the conference adopted the IENE 2012 Potsdam declaration on an integrative European Defragmentation Programme and requested a joint European approach on ensuring ecological functions and processes, i.e. upgrading the ecological infrastructure, while upgrading the network of roads, railways and other transport facilities.