Nature and Society


Knowledge for Ecological Networks (KEN)

Catalysing Stakeholder Involvement in the Practical Implementation of Ecological Networks

The main gap in knowledge concerning ecological networks currently relates to the practical implementation of such networks. There is a lack of knowledge about the practice of implementing ecological networks on the ground, including obstacles, opportunities, best practice and lessons learned. This applies especially in relation to: a) achieving the necessary involvement and support from relevant stakeholder groups, in particular farming, spatial planning, transport and infrastructure development and water management; b) achieving a balance between the socio-economic interests involved in land use and the need to ensure that land use will not compromise ecological connectivity; and c) ensuring cohesion and synergy between activities at the regional, national and international levels.

This project wanted to broaden the horizon of ecological network implementation by involving relevant fields of knowledge hitherto not strongly involved, and exploring possibilities for synergy with other societal and policy sectors, especially concerning issues such as stakeholder involvement, promoting economic and land-use activities that are beneficial to maintaining ecological connectivity.

This project aimed to stimulate practical partnerships and consensus-building within and between the stakeholders involved in the practical implementation of ecological networks, including organizations and sectors. Outcomes of this project were:

  • increased understanding of the current state of play regarding practical implementation of ecological networks;
  • better access to knowledge and information through active networking; 
  • increased cooperation and synergy between sectors, organizations and people; 
  • increased opportunity for new areas of ecological networks.

The objectives of this research project were to describe the current level of involvement and participation of different stakeholder groups in the practical delivery of ecological networks in Europe. This knowledge should result in a better understanding of the processes of stakeholder involvement across Europe and lead to the identification of best practices which can contribute to a better and more effective implementation of ecological networks. The project also aimed to disseminate the knowledge acquired through a network of interested practitioners.

Time frame
The duration of the KEN project was two years (2007-2009).


  • Croatia - State Institute for Nature Protection 
  • Estonia - Estonian University of Life Sciences 
  • Germany - Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research 
  • Netherlands - Alterra, Wageningen UR 
  • Switzerland - Federal Office for Environment 
  • United Kingdom - Natural England


The KEN project was funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

The KEN project work plan was split into six work streams, which were coordinated and part of an integrated strategy. The outputs of the project work packages can be found here. All outputs can be found on the website as well. The final report 'Making the connection! Guidelines for involving stakeholders in the implementation of ecological networks' has been published on this website; a (free) hard copy is also available.

For more information, contact the project coordinator, Aysegul ?il.