Green Infrastructure


Indicative map for the Pan-European Ecological Network in South-Eastern Europe

Since its first appearance on the nature conservation scene in the early 1980s, the concept of ecological networks has become increasingly important in European nature conservation. The basic premise of the ecological network concept is straightforward: the fragmentation of habitats can be counteracted by creating buffer zones to protect the surviving natural areas and connecting these core areas by stepping stones and corridors, which allow species to colonize new areas and to move freely in search of food or a mate. The ecological network concept acknowledges the need to take a wider approach to nature conservation; it recognizes that the traditional approach of focusing on the protection of individual sites and species will not be sufficient in the long run and that semi-natural areas and the wider countryside are of crucial importance for the survival of species.


  1. Development of an indicative map identifying core areas and corridors of the Pan-European Ecological Network (PEEN) for South-East Europe (SEE).
  2. Promotion of the map as a tool for national and supranational policymaking in SEE, related to land-use planning and nature conservation.

This project outlined the contours of the PEEN in SEE. The indicative map:

  • indicates core areas, buffer zones, corridors (or areas that could be restored to serve as such) in support of the development of the PEEN SEE;
  • raises awareness and understanding of ecological networks in general and PEEN in particular by stimulating discussion among policymakers, researchers, investors and NGOs;
  • stimulates the development of national ecological networks and their linkages with the PEEN;
  • generated involvement of NGOs by including them in the wider consultation process around the development of the map;
  • indicates threats and opportunities arising from other land uses in SEE for biodiversity in general and the PEEN in particular;
  • encourages land-use planners and policymakers on the national level of decision-making to take the concept of the PEEN into account in their national policies and ecological networks in SEE;
  • contributes to the conservation of the Balkan region’s biodiversity by making the first steps towards the establishment of an international ecological network;
  • encourages European investment agencies to take the requirements of the PEEN into account in their investment policies and projects;
  • raises awareness of the relevance of the region’s natural heritage for the whole of Europe.

Time frame

1 July 2003–1 May 2006


Project Team:

  • Centre for Cartography of Fauna and Flora, Slovenia
  • University of Zagreb, Croatia;
  • WWF Turkey, Turkey
  • Wilderness Fund, Bulgaria
  • Directorate of Nature Protection, Albania
  • Agency of Environment, Macedonia
  • Agricultural Institute, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Natural History Museum of Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro
  • Alterra, the Netherlands

Advisory Committee:

  • Regional Environmental Center, Serbia and Montenegro
  • EUCC-the Coastal Union, the Netherlands
  • IUCN, Office for Central Europe, Poland
  • United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre
  • Expert Committee for the Establishment of the PEEN
  • Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre, Greece
  • Expertise Centre of Ministry of ANF, the Netherlands


The indicative map of the Pan-European Ecological Network in South-Eastern Europe was primarily funded by the PIN-MATRA Subsidy Scheme by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, with additional funding from the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape via the Council of Europe.