During spring and summer 2020, intensive fieldwork was carried out to verify ecological corridors of and barriers to the migration of large carnivores within the Czech part of the pilot area Western Carpathians.
Four hundred migration barriers were identified and sorted into categories such as roads, railways, fences, built-up areas, non-forest areas, etc. according to the methodology developed as part of the ConnectGREEN project, called ‘Methodology for the Identification of Ecological Corridors in the Carpathian Countries by using Large Carnivores as Umbrella Species’.
The work was carried out by Daniel Mach, who works for the Nature Conservation Agency in the Czech Republic. He is responsible for the fieldwork in the cross-border Western Carpathian pilot area which straddles the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In the article below, Mr. Mach gives us an insight into how he conducts such fieldwork and which tools he uses.
In the course of the fieldwork, Mr. Mach notes that it is very useful to use specialized digital tools that complement the work on the online platform of ArcGIS. In this case, he used ArcGIS Collector for the collection of spatial data and ArcGIS Survey 123 for the collection of attributes. Special forms where created within the applications that corresponded to the methodology of ConnectGREEN to allow for the collection of unified data about barriers to migration.
Figure No. 1: Preview of the Survey 123 application for collecting attributes of barriers directly in the field © NCA
Over several weeks, Mr. Mach refined the delineation of ecological corridors and barriers that occurred therein. Unsurprisingly, the most common barriers recorded in the Czech part of the pilot area were various types of linear infrastructure and an open landscape devoid of mature vegetation. When mapping barriers, Mr. Mach paid increased attention to elements and measures that mitigated the negative effects of barriers to migration. See examples in Figures 2-4.
Figure No. 2: Border crossing Mosty u Jablunkova. The road crosses a major migration corridor between the Silesian and Moravian-Silesian Beskydy © NCA
Figure No. 3: Non-forest area in Ústí u Vsetína. Corridor in the Vsetínská Bečva valley connecting the Vsetínské and Hostýnské hills © NCA
Figure No. 4: Underpass for wild animals on the railway corridor between the Czech Republic and Slovakia © NCA
The results of Mr. Mach’s work will be used to delineate critical barriers along important migration routes resulting in a detailed map which will serve as a basis for the formulation of efficient mitigation measures. These mitigation measures will be integrated into the Pilot Area Action Plan for Mitigating Threats to Corridors. The Plan will be developed in cooperation with key stakeholders in the area and provided to spatial planners for discussion on how to integrate ecological corridors into the spatial planning system.