A.5. Grassland connectivity model

The purpose of the grassland connectivity model is twofold: 1) to serve as a guiding tool for prioritising the restoration actions within the project, 2) to serve as a basis for preparing the recommendations for adjustments in the Natura 2000 network.

The grassland connectivity model will focus on Natura 2000 as core areas for protection of priority grasslands, and primarily identify the priority areas within the Natura 2000 sites for grasslands. It will be complemented with the extended component to improve the integrity and connectivity of the Natura 2000 network, identifying the critical “hotspots” also outside the Natura 2000 network.

We will analyse the current distribution of the grasslands, assigning a value to each grassland plot, characterising its connectivity thus allowing identifying the most important grassland plots from the connectivity perspective. The grassland areas that will be identified in this model as the most important hubs ensuring grassland connectivity at the landscape level will be prioritised for the restoration activities in action C.3. The connectivity analysis will allow also for identifying areas where creation of new grasslands is needed to improve the grassland connectivity. The connectivity model will be used for producing the recommendations for future actions in prioritising the grassland restoration measures, adjusting the Natura 2000 network and planning the schedule for mobile grazing units after LIFE. The methodology for the study will be thoroughly described and shared, by the end of the project.