European Spatial Development

Transboundary environmental cooperation - the case of ecological corridors

Black grouse settlement areas and Natura 2000 areas (source: IOER)
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Growing salience of ecological corridors
The smaller and the more isolated an area, the less species can survive on it. Especially plant and animal species with large and diverse habitat needs rely on systems of interconnected biotopes. This is even more important when considering the challenges of global warming. Many species will only be able to survive by migrating towards the poles or towards areas at higher altitudes. In order to enable such adaption processes practically, ecological corridors and networks of protected areas have to be established. In many cases this requires transboundary coordination
Creating transboundary ecological corridors represents a complex challenge which can hardly or at least not very efficiently be tackled by governmental actions and intergovernmental cooperation alone. This is one reason why national governments have lost their role as gatekeepers of international environmental cooperation. This process resulted in a broad spectrum of institutional arrangements which include governments from different levels but also civil society organisations and representatives from the corporate sector. Such forms of transboundary cooperation are characterized by non-hierarchical coordination and by informal negations in loose networks of actors.

Complex forms of cooperation
The project seeks to answer two descriptive and two causal questions:

  • Which forms of cooperation are applied when establishing transboundary ecological corridors?
  • Which effects do these cooperation initiatives yield?
  • How can the development of different forms of cooperation related to transboundary ecological corridors be explained?
  • What linkages are there between the type and the effects of cooperation?

The project follows the overall objective of analysing which forms of cooperation are applied in order to establish transboundary ecological corridors at Germany?s external borders and to what results this cooperation has lead so far. The project is set into the broader context of transboundary environmental governance.

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