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Decrease Habitat Fragmentation and Wolf Traffic Mortality Through Recovery of Identified Sink Areas

C6.1 Decrease Habitat Fragmentation and Wolf Traffic Mortality Through Recovery of Identified Sink Areas

The road and railways infrastructures decrease the quality and quantity of habitats, increase the mortality of wildlife caused by vehicular traffic and affect the fragmentation of habitats and populations of species. In the first LIFE WolfAlps project, this issue was investigated, and it has been documented that this particularly affects wolves in the Valle Susa valley (Italy).

So the action will be developed with the following activities, where expected results are defined:

  1. Evaluation of previous studies and new data collected to identify corridors used.
  2. Working table with the stakeholders involved in road and railways construction and maintenance to decide for new interventions and maintenance of existing infrastructures.
  3. Planning of mitigation works for linear infrastructure to reduce the impact of territorial fragmentation on wildlife.
  4. Direct interventions and implementation of mitigation measure. In details: the cleaning of existing underpasses and the improvement of their environmental insertion, the installation of nets to direct wolves through the sections with greater permeability, the verification of the state of maintenance of the protective nets of the highway, the installation of road signs to alert drivers, the placement of reflective optical bollards (for at least 10 km). A mobile APP that signals the stretches of road most at risk of collisions with wildlife.
  5. Constant update on the 5 years of the project of the database on road and rail accidents with ungulates and wolves for the Municipalities of the Alta Valle di Susa.
  6. Awareness campaign implementation for accident prevention and to raise awareness of accidents with wildlife and wolves.

C6.2 Decrease of Habitat Loss and Integration of Wolf Reproductive Habitat Needs into Spatial Planning

Wolf reproduction sites are the most sensitive areas for the species. An effective way to preserve connectivity and decrease habitat loss, is to regulate the development of human activities in certain areas that are particularly important as breeding sites by providing correct information in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Spatial planning should include the conservation or restoration of the species’ reproductive sites and the protection of the sites that are most at risk. 

With this action we want to put into practice the knowledge and measures developed in the first LIFE WolfAlps project, in order to define a user-friendly handbook for Environmental Impact Assessments in wolf areas: a measure to prevent further fragmentation and habitat loss in central wolf conservation areas. We will organize educational seminars in Italy, one in each of the regions involved (Piedmont, Lombardy, Liguria, Valle Aosta), dedicated to territorial planners and companies that carry out Environmental Impact Assessments. At the seminars, experts will present and explain the fundamental principles of wolf-friendly spatial planning.

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