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COST 341
Habitat Fragmentation due to Transportation Infrastructure

COST 341 image

Chairman : Mr. G.J. Bekker (NL)
Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management
Fax: +31/15 261 13 61
E-mail: (email removed)

Vice-Chairmen : Mrs. Marguerite Trocme (CH)
Bundesamt für Umwelt, Wald und Landschaft - BUWAL
Fax: +41/31 324 75 79
E-mail: (email removed)

Mr. Dick Van Straaten (B)
Instituut voor Natuurbehoud
Fax: +32/2 558 18 05
E-mail: (email removed)

Scientific Secretary : Mr. Jan Spousta
European Commission
Directorate General for Research
Fax: +32 2 296 42 89
E-mail: (email removed)


5 years; to Autumn 2003.

Final Conference will be held on 12-15 November 2003 in Brussels (for detailed information, programme and Registration please open and click on "IENE Conference 2003") .


16 COST Countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

1 NGO: The European Centre for Nature Conservation

This COST Action is organised in co-operation with IENE - Infra Eco Network Europe.


The main objective is to promote a safe and sustainable pan-European transport infrastructure through recommending measures and planning procedures with the aim of conserving biodiversity and reducing vehicular accidents and resulting fauna casualties.


COST 341 will establish the state of the art of the current situation of habitat fragmentation caused by construction and use of the transportation networks in Europe. The best practice regarding methodologies, indicators, technical design and procedures for avoidance, mitigation and compensation of adverse effects on nature will be gathered in a handbook of best practice. A database will offer on-line information on European expertise, data on existing literature, and a glossary of terms used in the field of infrastructure and habitat fragmentation.

The State of the Art Report on Habitat Fragmentation due to Linear Transportation Infrastructure in Europe will contain information on the following:

  • habitat fragmentation and infrastructure:
    • effects on nature
    • overview of environmental bottlenecks/maps
  • current situation regarding solutions
    • overview of mitigation/ compensation measures
    • evaluation / effectiveness
  • legislative framework
  • on-going research
  • review of relevant case studies and projects
  • identification of research areas and recommendations
  • directory of institutions and organisations involved
  • bibliography.

In the first stage, the research will be carried out by each participating country separately. It is desirable that each country be represented by institutions from both sectors, transportation and environment, in order to improve the quality of the survey. In the second stage, the information given by the national overviews will be analysed and compiled in order to produce a single European report.

The European Handbook on Habitat Fragmentation due to Linear Transportation Infrastructure will contain:

  • methodology/indicators to define and quantify ‘fragmentation’
  • priorities for tackling environmental bottlenecks
  • best practice in mitigation/compensation measures for existing and planned infrastructure
  • technical description/maintenance
  • methods to evaluate/monitor the effectiveness of measures
  • recommendations on methodological aspects of a monetary evaluation of external effects
  • habitat fragmentation in Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Impact Assessment
  • recommendations for planners to help them with planning procedures.

The On-Line Database will comprise:

  • list of European experts in the field of transportation infrastructure and habitat fragmentation
  • database of existing literature and video resources
  • glossary of terms.

A number of international working groups will be formed in order to prepare the European Handbook on Habitat Fragmentation due to Linear Transportation Infrastructure and the On-Line Database .


One of the main causes of habitat fragmentation (i.e. splitting of natural ecosystems into smaller and more isolated units, thus endangering the survival of animal and plant species and communities) is the construction and use of linear transportation infrastructure (roads, railways, waterways). By good planning, disturbance of natural areas can be avoided. By using mitigation and compensation measures the fragmentation effects can be reduced.

The representatives of 12 European countries present at the meeting of the European expert group Infra Eco Network Europe (IENE) held in Romania 9-11 October 1996 have stressed the need for co-operation and exchange of information in the field of habitat fragmentation caused by infrastructure at European level. The participants have recognised that concerted actions are urgently required.

The conclusions of a preliminary assessment carried out in the member countries of IENE can be summarised as follows:

  • The amount of research carried out so far (when applicable) is not sufficient to provide an adequate scientific background to offer comprehensive solutions to the problem.
  • There are very few measures implemented and/or planned, to mitigate and/or compensate the losses and disturbances generated by fragmentation.
  • Wide differences exist among European countries regarding scientific background and know-how, affected species and landscape, awareness and developments.

Benefits to Different Users

COST 341 is to address its deliverables to:

  • the technical and scientific community
  • European Community/government /policymakers
  • advisory/construction companies
  • non-governmental organisations
  • the public.

The Action will bring via its deliverables the following benefits:

  • Reduction in the stress produced by linear transportation infrastructure on the European biological heritage via implementation of a scientifically based, uniform set of measures.
  • Saving of time and money by learning from past mistakes and avoiding overlapping research.
  • Enhancement of road safety.
  • Enlarged and diversified manufacture of related products (ecoducts, tunnels, fences), and consequently more employment.
  • European integration in the field of planning procedures and technical requirements for implementation of mitigation and compensation measures.
  • Provision of scientific and technical support to the implementation of the trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T).

Related Activities


National State of the Art Reports

France : English (52 MB), French (57 MB) - Hungary : English (4.3 MB)

Image Last Updated: 03-07-2003

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