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05 - Defragmentation of wildlife habitats on a nation-wide scale, Netherlands Print
Project name
Wildlife habitat defragmentation - Bottleneck solving between the Motorway network and the Main Ecological Network of the Netherlands
  Defragmentation map of the Netherlands
  Fig. 1: Bottlenecks between the EMS and the Dutch motorway network.  Defragmentation bottlenecks between the Main Ecological Network and the existing motorway network in The Netherlands according to the Defragmentation Program 2005-2018. The map shows the solved bottlenecks, the to be solved bottlenecks and complex bottlenecks to be solved.
The connection of all major nature areas (including buffer zones and nature development areas by corridors) is one step to create sustainable natural areas and solve conflicts between motorways and nature by mitigating measures, like fauna passages ( ecoducts (=wildlife viaducts) and fauna pipes). Reducing the barrier effect of roads and traffic is another important step.
Start of project
1990 (2nd Structure Plan for Transport) and 2005 (Defragmentation Program 2005 – 2018)
End of project
In 2018 the National Ecological Network (see case study 10a) shall be realized as well as the solving of bottlenecks between motorways and nature.
Contact person
Website LNV (Dutch ministry of agriculture, nature and food quality): www.minLNF.nl
Website www.iene.info and the website www.minvenw.nl/rws/dww
Info Ministry of Transport: ir. G.J. Bekker ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Info Ministry of LNF: Drs. R. Post ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Short project description / project function
To be able to maintain and increase biodiversity, individual natural areas need to be connected. The National Ecological Network will consists of in total 725'000 ha. With specially constructed fauna passages - from fauna pipes till wide ecoducts (see case study 2 ) - the barrier effect of motorways and traffic will be reduced. In this way the separation of nature areas by infrastructure (habitat fragmentation) can be corrected. The first step is these processes is to make a bottleneck analysis between roads and the environment. (This approach can be done on a national, regional as well as local level.)
Summary of experiences
The project is still in progress by land acquisition and by taking mitigation measures. During the last 16 years a lot of mitigation measures have been carried out in The Netherlands to reduce the number of bottlenecks between the National Ecological Network and the motorway system. Monitoring activities show that the fauna passages are used by animals. It is still too early to claim positive effects on biodiversity.

Information about the Dutch, but also other European countries can be found: http://cost341.instnat.be.
Project benefits
More connections between fragmented natural areas, which will decrease the chances of extinction of species.
Project level
Enough knowledge available to construct and maintain fauna passages.
Financial scale
For the next 12 years the Dutch government has 410 million Euro available for mitigation measures on the existing motorway network
Environmental conditions
Sea climate
-5m up to 360 (entire Netherlands)
Description of special local conditions
Project throughout the entire country
Why is this ecological engineering.
To obtain an ecologically sustainable transport infrastructure mitigation of the adverse effects on wildlife needs an ecological engineering approach where technical and ecological knowledge is combined for the benefits of human and nature. Mitigation measures can reduce the negative effects of roads and traffic considerably.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 December 2007 )
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