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Many cities are making efforts to improve green structures in the city. The EU focuses on this topic and is looking for ways to achieve the necessary transition. Questions of land competition, refinancing and the desired type of green structures shape the discussion. The EU Mission points out that the participation of the population and the consideration of their needs play a decisive role for the implementation. Therefore, the aim of the project is to provide the necessary strategic background knowledge for an improved, tailored and broad implementation of urban greening in Austria through a representative online survey and to apply the results with selected stakeholder groups.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-07-01 - 2026-06-30

NaturaConnect aims to support the development of a truly coherent Trans-European Nature Network (TEN-N), through a combination of stakeholder engagement across scales and interdisciplinary research to develop spatial planning and other policy support tools. Stakeholder engagement both at the European scale, and in a set six of case studies at transborder, national and sub-national scales, will elicit preferences from decision-makers about conservation targets, harness best protected area management practices and funding mechanisms, and test the TEN-N spatial prioritization analysis and tools produced by NaturaConnect. This will address two of the major obstacles identified by the Fitness Check of the EU Nature Legislation: lack of stakeholder awareness and cooperation, and insufficient knowledge and access to existing funding mechanisms. Interdisciplinary research in NaturaConnect will develop state-of-the-art models on the distribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services across Europe and how it may change under future climate and land-use scenarios, in order to identify gaps in the current protected area coverage and to establish ecological corridors to restore connectivity and promote rewilding. Such spatial analysis benefits tremendously from an European level analysis as many important areas for biodiversity occur in border areas, species move regularly across countries, sometimes over great distances as in the case of birds, and EU level priorities are better identified at the continental scale. The biodiversity and ecosystem service datasets and the tools to explore spatial priorities and connectivity restoration will be made publicly available in an interactive FAIR and open science compliant web platform, as a contribution to the European Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity (KCBD). This addresses a third major obstacle identified by the Nature Fitness Check: limited availability of knowledge. The NaturaConnect consortium brings together an interdisciplinary team of scientists working on biodiversity modelling, ecosystem service modelling, scenario development, spatial prioritization, connectivity, rewilding and conservation management, several of them recognized as being international leaders in their fields. Complementarily, the NaturaConnect consortium involves a range of non-governmental conservation organizations that have been involved in protected area management with multiple stakeholders and in the development of biodiversity policies at the European or regional level, including the largest federation of protected areas in Europe and some of the most influential conservation organizations.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-03-03 - 2023-09-02

In 2014-2015, a first socio-economic monitoring (SÖM) was carried out in the Eifel National Park in order to gain insights into the importance of the Eifel National Park as a recreational and educational area for the population. The aim of the planned project is to repeat this monitoring in order to be able to document possible changes and further developments of the Eifel National Park as an educational and nature experience site for the population. One of the essential parameters in the context of a SÖM is the knowledge about the actual number of visitors in connection with as detailed knowledge as possible about when and where these visitors are to be found in the course of the year. Furthermore, questions about the acceptance of the national park by the local/regional population have to be answered in recurring intervals. Likewise, the potential of possible sources of income, which were and are created by the establishment of such large protected areas, must be analyzed. The questions who comes when and why to the region, how long he stays as a guest and what he is willing to spend, have to be answered again and again from the point of view of tourism science, if one wants and has to develop further as a destination for his guests. Especially since there are only a few monitoring studies on European national parks so far, which allow a comparison with previous surveys, such repeat studies have a high scientific relevance. Finally, knowledge about the significance of the COVID 19 pandemic for the visit of the national park, but also of the national park partners, is a new and interesting field of research. Thus, in summary, the following key research questions arise for the proposed project: - What does the recreational use of the Eifel National Park look like, for example in terms of visitor structure and behavior as well as the spatial-temporal distribution of visitors*? - Are there differences to the data collected in 2014/15 regarding recreational use? - Has the degree of acceptance of the national park among visitors changed? - How has the COVID-19 crisis affected visitor structures, visitor behavior, and visitor numbers?

Supervised Theses and Dissertations