The study aimed at producing a non-prioritized list but nevertheless a number of questions were found to depend on the results of others, making some degree of prioritization essential. For example, it is not possible to consider "which of the habitat types important for landscape connectivity are most affected by climate change?" without first understanding "which landscape elements and land use types enhance or moderate the gaps in connectivity?" and "which indicators reflect the changes in connectivity that result from climate or human induced changes in Alpine landscapes?" The participants recommended that questions such as "what is an effective set of indicators (for species and habitats) that can be used to evaluate and monitor connectivity at different scales?" be addressed with high priority, as it must be answered to enable three further questions to be tackled.
The ultimate choice of "most important questions" may be somewhat subjective and the authors regret that only one policy-maker participated in the workshop. A further difficulty was posed by the variety of languages spoken by the participants, which might have hampered the precise formulation of questions. Nevertheless, the final list of questions represents an important initial step in setting priorities for maintaining and restoring the biodiversity in the entire alpine region.
Walzer is highly encouraged by the results. As he says, "the overall procedure was rapid and cost-efficient but nevertheless it has given us a number of pointers on the requirements for future research. It is clear that many of the environmental problems in the Alps are 'wicked', if not 'super-wicked': they have no simple answers and cannot be solved by any single authority, so we tend to push them into the future although time is running out. However, thanks to this workshop we now at least have a c
|Contact: Dr. Chris Walzer|
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna