German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Project Profile: Ecological Network Platform

Project profile Platform Ecological Network
The Platform Ecological Network of the Alpine Convention – a tool of the transnational Nature Conservation


The Platform Ecological Network is a body of the Alpine Convention. Its establishment was decided on the IX. Alpine Conference in Alpbach in 2006. Members of the platform are representatives of the contracting states, research institutions and civil society organizations. They meet regularly to discuss country-specific approaches and to develop transnational recommendations for action. The platform also represents an important link between the expert level and politics. Specific work priorities are defined every two years in the so-called mandates. Germany (BfN - 2006-2008 and 2014-2016 and the Bavarian State Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection - 2010-2012) and France have alternated the chairing of the platform every two years. 

International actors exchange views on the implementation of nature conservation measures (photo: Bettina Hedden-Dunkhorst, BfN)
On the phot you can see International actors exchange views on the implementation of nature conservation measures

The concrete objective of the platform is the realization of a cross-border ecological network, as foreseen in Article 12 of the Protocol on Nature Conservation and Landscape Management. Amongst other it contains the extension and completion of cross-border protected areas, taking into account the NATURA 2000 areas, the coordination and networking of environmental measures relating to species and habitats throughout the entire region of the Alps. Furthermore, relevant research should be encouraged and implemented and the results should be incorporated into the Alpine Observation and Information System. It is also critical to highlight the importance of the ecological network through specific publicity work.

Since 2011, the platform has identified pilot regions for an ecological network (conservation areas and their surroundings). These are regions that have made a special contribution to the implementation of the ecological network. So far ten regions have been nominated, whereapproaches, models and measures are tested and implemented and "best practices" are developed.

Selected activities:

Among other things, a catalog of measures was created within the framework of the platform. It summarizes some 70 measures to conserve biodiversity and shows how they could be used across the Alps.

From 2016-2018 a R & D project was put into practice to investigate the contribution of measures for the establishment of an ecological network to a green economy in the Alpine region .

As part of the current mandate of the platform, a report is presently being prepared which examines how the concept of an ecological network is integrated into special planning within the member states of the Alpine Convention.


Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (Hrsg.) (2016). Alpine Nature 2030. BMUB. Berlin: 251 S.

Kohler, Y., Heinrichs, A. K. (2011) Catalogue of possible measures to improve ecological connectivity in the Alps. Ecological Continuum Initiative.

Heinrichs, Anne Katrin; Kohler, Yann & Ullrich, Aurelia (Red.) (2010): Implementing a Pan-Alpine Ecological Network - A Compilation of Major Approaches, Tools and Activities. BfN-Skripten 273.

ALPARC, CIPRA, ISCAR, WWF (2010): Natur ohne Grenzen : Ökologische Netzwerke für mehr Biodiversität in den Alpen.

Hedden-Dunkhorst, Bettina; Kretschmar, Meike & Kohler, Yann (Red.) (2007): Establishing an Alpine Ecological Network Inaugural Meeting of the Platform "Ecological Network" under the Alpine Convention. BfN-Skripten 210.

Project information:

Duration: Started 2006

Region: Alpine region

Project partners: Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention; ALPARC; CIPRA

Project management at BfN:

Section I 2.3, International Nature Conservation
Contact: Dr. Bettina Hedden-Dunkhorst (

Last Change: 25/02/2019