FUNGREEN- FUNCTIONAL CONNECTIVITY AND GREENINFRASTRUCTURE..

 

The FUNgreen project facilitates the translation of green infrastructure into functional connectivity and thus efforts to enhance the persistence of plants and maintenance of ecosystem services in fragmented European landscapes. The project investigates the respective roles of green infrastructure the configuration of the landscape and plant functional connectivity the effective dispersal of seeds and pollen in the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services. We focus on plant communities of semi-natural grasslands, a habitat of high European and global conservation interest, in Sweden, Belgium, Germany, and United Kingdom. Specifically, we compare functional connectivity in fragmented landscapes with either good or poor green infrastructure, and either high or low levels of management that promote functional connectivity (i.e. movement of livestock).

Seed and pollen dispersal in these landscapes are evaluated through genetic analyses, in situ pollination and recruitment experiments and models parameterized from field data. The effects of functional connectivity on biodiversity, genetic diversity and a range of ecosystem services are investigated and used as the basis of predictive models which can shape future landscape management. Results are relevant to farmers, land owners, nature organizations and policy makers, to whom project outputs will be made available. Farmers and conservation managers are taking part in the development of alternative modelling scenarios for improving functional connectivity within economically realistic scenarios.

The results from the project are directly relevant for the strategy on green infrastructure proposed by the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/)

where a key step in implementing the EU 2020 Biodiversity strategy is to maintain and enhance ecosystem services by establishing green infrastructure and restore degraded ecosystems. We provide knowledge of how the maintenance of green infrastructure and if alternative management practices (for example large-scale ranching) can improve functional connectivity affecting biodiversity, which is vital for the effective management of landscapes in the face of contemporary and future environmental change.