The Pan European Ecological Network: PEEN


The pan European biological and landscape diversity strategy (PEBDLS) was developed under the auspices of the Council of Europe in order to achieve the effective implementation of the convention of biological diversity (CBD) at the European level. A key element of PEBLDS has been the development of the Pan European Ecological Network (PEEN) as a guiding vision for coherence in biodiversity conservation. PEEN has been developed in three subprojects: Central and Eastern Europe, completed in 2002; South-eastern Europe, completed in 2006; and Western Europe, also completed in 2006. The methodology of the development of the three maps has been broadly comparable but data availability, differences in national databases, technical developments and geographical differences caused variations in the detailed approach. One of the challenges was to find common denominators for the habitat data in Europe; this was solved differently for the subprojects. The project has resulted in three maps that together constitute the PEEN. They differ in terms of ecological coherence and the need for ecological corridors; for example, in Central and Western Europe corridors are essential to provide connectivity, while in Northern, Eastern and South-eastern Europe larger, coherent natural areas still exist. The future steps in developing PEEN should include the implementation of national ecological networks and, in particular, the pursuit of international coherence through the development of trans-European ecological corridors. The big challenge is to develop a common approach among the over 100 European-wide agencies that are responsible for biodiversity conservation.

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The preparation of an indicative PEEN maps started in 1999, was finalised in 2006 and reported to the European Ministers of Environment in 2007. We acknowledge all those who made the work possible by funding it, the Ministry of Agriculture Nature and Food Quality of The Netherlands through its Policy Supporting Research Instrument, the Dutch BBI-MATRA fund, the Council of Europe and the Swiss Government. We also acknowledge the Walloon Government for their support as well as the national and international data providers that made the technical development of the maps possible, the Committee of Experts for the development of the Pan-European Ecological Network that supported the process from its inception, and the hundreds of policy advisors who have been consulted. We are also grateful to the stakeholders who made their knowledge and data available for this project. Without their willingness to support and contribute the project would have been impossible in the context of the complex situation in Europe that has prevailed throughout this decade.

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Correspondence to Rob H. G. Jongman.

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Jongman, R.H.G., Bouwma, I.M., Griffioen, A. et al. The Pan European Ecological Network: PEEN. Landscape Ecol 26, 311–326 (2011).

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  • Ecological network
  • Europe
  • Ecological corridors
  • Indicator species
  • Habitat suitability
  • Ecological data