A strangely shaped protection area

The habitats of many animal and plant species are being lost because of human intervention. Especially in valley areas, space is rare and the expansion of settlement, infrastructure and industry, the drainage of wetlands for better management and the securing of bodies of water has put so much pressure on species that many are now classified as endangered. Insurmountable obstacles along their migration routes also present such huge barriers that populations have ended up being isolated from one another. Genetic exchange can no longer take place and potential habitats are no longer repopulated. To ensure the connection of two existing Natura 2000 sites across the valley of Ausseerland, a new protection area was created. This was one of the main outcomes of a the LIFE+ project “Ausseerland”. Based on data collection for stone crayfish, yellow-bellied toad, Italian crested newt, European bullhead, marsh fritillary, bog and forest habitat-types, a strangely shaped Natura 2000 site called “Mitterndorf biotope network” was realized. What's new is that it is not designed as one large area, but instead includes only areas that are technically relevant – like water bodies, bogs and accompanying strips of forest. Measures to create, improve and connect habitats for the above-mentioned species were taken. After five years, monitoring surveys have shown that there is some improvement of the conservation status of the species. To safeguard all the measures in the long term, the 262 hectare area has been protected as a Natura 2000 site.

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