The fragmentation of landscape due to transportation infrastructure has a number of ecological effects. It contributes significantly to the loss of species in Europe (e.g., by the dissection of populations and the isolation of habitats) and affects the water regime, the scenery, and the recreational quality. In spite of the planning concept of preserving large fragmented areas, fragmentation has continued to increase during the last twenty years.
Therefore, data on the degree of landscape fragmentation and on how it has developed are needed. Data would be suitable for comparing different regions, especially according to different natural landscape types.
Studies on the degree of landscape fragmentation using the same method have already been conducted in Baden-Wurttemberg, Thuringia, Hesse, Bavaria und Saxonia which allows comparing the results from Switzerland with the results from these regions. In addition, the time series of the degree of landscape fragmentation are useful as an indicator for the endangerment of biodiversity, as an indicator of sustainability, and as a foundation for setting goals in planning and politics and for proposing appropriate measures.
Investigate the development of landscape fragmentation in Switzerland since 1900 to 2002.
Come to the conclusions for regional traffic planning.
Determination of landscape fragmentation is done with the fragmentation method Mass "effective mesh size". The effective mesh size was developed at the Academy of Technology Assessment in collaboration with the ETH Zurich.
The project quantitatively investigates the development of landscape fragmentation in Switzerland since 1900 to 2002 (map of the remaining unfragmented areas, time series, spatial comparisons) and identifies trends of the future development.
The project presented here has produced a method and data on the degree of landscape fragmentation in Switzerland. The project generated time series from 1885 to 2002 on seven levels of observation: on the national level, for the five large ecoregions, for the 33 biogeographic regions, for the 26 cantons, for the 181 districts, for the bog landscapes, and for the BLN areas, i.e., the landscapes and natural monuments that are particularly deserving preservation and are listed in the Inventory of the Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance (for comparison with the values of the landscapes outside the BLN areas). The project also identified trends and extrapolated them into the future. For the quantification of the degree of fragmentation, the effective mesh size (meff) and the effective mesh density (seff = 1/meff) were used.
Four different fragmentation geometries were generated. Each of them combines various anthropogenic fragmenting elements, and in some cases, also natural fragmenting elements. Thus, each fragmentation geometry is suited for addressing particular questions. For MONET, the values from fragmentation geometry 4 are the most suitable where the reporting units are limited to the land areas below 2100 m (and the water bodies and mountain areas > 2100 m are excluded from the reporting units). In this fragmentation geometry, the effective mesh size in Switzerland has decreased by 70% since 1885 (from 580 km2 to 176 km2). Accordingly, the effective mesh density has increased by 230% over that time period (from 17.2 meshes per 10’000 km2 to 56.7 meshes per 10’000 km2). When interpreting these values, it is important to keep in mind that the degree of fragmentation is much higher in the Central Lowlands and in the Jura region than in the Alps.
The project draws conclusions for regional traffic planning and proposes new concepts for controlling landscape fragmentation according to the principles of sustainable development.
The time series of the degree of landscape fragmentation are useful as an indicator of the
endangerment of species and habitat diversity (biodiversity), as an indicator of the restriction on sustainability, and as a basis to establish quantitative goals in planning and politics and to propose appropriate measures. Similar studies on the degree of landscape fragmentation using the effective mesh size method have already been conducted in Baden-Wurttemberg, Hesse, Bavaria und South Tyrol which allows comparing the results from Switzerland with the results from these regions. Based on the results, the project draws conclusions for traffic planning and regional planning.