Serwis poświęcony przyrodzie województwa podkarpackiego

Designation of existing ecological corridors





I. Identification of the course of the existing local migration corridors

   The implementation of the main objective, which was an indication of the ecological corridors between individual habitat patches (forest complexes), critical for maintaining the continuity of the population of large mammals in the identified Carpathian refuge of forest fauna was based on a theoretical designation of the potential ecological corridors and their verification based on the data collected during the field work carried out in implementing the project. This approach enabled the actual determination of the functionality of individual connections between habitat patches providing optimal living conditions for individual species covered by the project. In addition, when designating the functional (existing) corridors, the possibility of their protection in a long term was also included (investments, development of localities resulting from local spatial management plans or land-use plans of municipality, land ownership, etc.). To designate the course of the local migration corridors, CorridorDesign software was used. The input variables applied are as follows:

  • Knowledge of the biology of selected animal species (based on the literature and expert opinions)
  • Source data: DTO (Database of Topographic Objects 10k), Numerical Terrain Model, information from the RDEP, GDNRM, orthophotomaps.
  • Selected parameters and characteristics of the environment determining habitat preferences of animals and the quality of the potential corridors: coverage, distance from roads, distance from buildings, ratio of the forest area to open areas within a radius of 250 m, height, altitude.

   On the basis of those variables, a habitat suitability model has been developed under which „population patches” as well as „breeding patches” and „<breeding patches” were identified. Population patches are the areas that enable the functioning of the growing (so-called viable) population for a period of about 10 years, while breeding patches are habitat patches enabling the occurrence of a single case of the multiplication of a given species, and the „<breeding patches” are habitat patches with the quality parameters corresponding to breeding patches, but too small due to the spatial requirements of individual animal species. Nevertheless, the first two types of habitat patches meet the basic criteria necessary for recognising them as habitats suitable for individual analysed species, and <breeding patches are habitat patches (islands) that can act as so-called „stepping stones” i.e. landing sites along the migration corridors.

   The habitat suitability model, information about the distribution of forest complexes and the average afforestation rate of individual parts of this site and about the spatial distribution and urbanised (mainly developed) areas were a basis to designate the potential local migration corridors, using the least-cost path method (the method consists in determining the shortest sections connecting identified habitat patches defined as „population” patches and passing through habitats whose total measure of the environmental resistance is the smallest). This model was used also to designate the compact Carpathian refuge of the forest fauna, consisting mostly of forest complexes being habitat population and breeding patches and areas not included into the refuge, with the low afforestation rate and low quality of habitat patches for the functioning of the population. Based on the habitat suitability model, using the least-cost path, what was also designated were connections among habitat patches situated extremely in the area covered by the projects and enabling the functioning of viable populations of large forest mammals, attesting to their freedom of movement within the area covered by the project, which is a prerequisite for maintaining the continuity of the spatial distribution of populations of these species in the entire area.

   The verification of potential corridors based on field data concerning the detection of the presence of animals allowed to confirm the functionality of those sections (to conclude that those were existing corridors). Then, these parts of the functional migration corridors, where a threat related to planned investments or relevant provisions in local spatial management plans had been detected, were recognised as non-functional in the future. In this way, a map of the local migration corridors with the confirmed functionality which should be protected in the long term has been obtained.



            Work on the map migration corridors, fot. Agnieszka Nowak


II. Determining the regions of the presence of the elk in the area covered by the project

   In case of the elk, only 8 cases of its presence were obtained, of probably one or a few animals (no individual identification). It should be noted that in the Carpathian Mountains the elk is present only incidentally, as this is the area lying outside the natural area of this species in Europe. Therefore, it was possible to prepare only a map showing the area of its presence in the Magura National Park and the neighbouring forest division as MCP (Minimal Convex Polygon).

III. Determining the regions of the presence of the lesser spotted eagle in the area covered by the project

   The data on the lesser spotted eagle were obtained mainly from the telemetry data for 8 birds. Some birds occasionally flew to Slovakia, and even to the border with Ukraine, and thus determining their range of living in the area covered by the project as the MCP would be encumbered with a significant artifact. Therefore, individual ranges of individual birds have been designated as kernel 95, covering an area with a 95% probability of the presence of an animal within the MCP. For this species, maps of regions of its presence have been drawn up to allow assessing ranges of individual subjects from the telemetry data and observations, with an indication of the regions of concentration of bird activity as kernel 95.



            Describing the habitat of the lesser spotted eagle, fot. Agnieszka Nowak



   Field work was carried out by four years from 2012 to 2015. This work was carried out by the individual Forest Divisions participating in the project and BdNP and MNP. The basic work was to make an inventory of crossings of sentinel animals (deer, wild boar, European bison, wolf, lynx, bear, and elk) through public roads with a hardened surface. Collected data included the information on the species, number of animals and direction of their movement.

   Data on the crossings of the sentinel animals through the public roads with a hardened surface were collected in winter and growing season. In winter, the crossings were inventoried during car trips organised in whole units on the public roads with a hardened surface (inventory of the crossings of the animals through the public roads was carried out at least twice during each winter, one day after snowfall) and occasionally during performance of official duties by the employees of the State Forests, BdNP, MNP. Based on the data from the inventory of the crossings of the animals through the public roads in winter the locations were designated in which the animals crossing the public roads with a hardened surface were observed in the growing period (so as to check whether animals use the same places of crossings all year long). To this end, in the designated areas phototraps were installed which automatically took photos, 24 hours a day, of the animals crossing the roads. In the Forest Divisions, the devices were installed at a distance of 15-20 meters from each other (due to their range), so as to cover the entire designated section of a road. In the area of the National Parks, there was a larger number of the phototraps installed at a distance of 5-10 meters from each other so as to record all the animals that appear near the road.

   The devices were installed in one place for a period of 2 to 4 weeks, then, they were moved to another location. In the places where the animals crossed the public roads with a hardened surface which were too broad to be covered by monitoring using the devices taking automatic photos of animals, the employees of the SF, BdNP and MNP carried out direct observations. The observations were carried out at night (from sunset until late hours in the morning), when the animals are most often active and overcome barriers. The observers were arranged at the intervals of several tens of meters and for the observations they used high-quality binoculars and night vision devices. In addition, the surveys on road accidents were also collected. Figure 1 shows the origin of field data, taking into account the different ways to identify the sentinel animals crossing the public roads with a hardened surface.

   In the course of above-mentioned field work, the following numbers of the crossings of the animals through the public roads with a hardened surface have been found: 189 crossings of bear, 78 of European bison, 1,020 of wolves, 94 of lynx, 7,649 of deer, 883 of wild boar and 8 of elk.

   In addition to the data on the species of the sentinel animals, their number and direction of crossing the public roads with a hardened surface, recorded was also the information about:

a) category of the roads, 

b) lighting, 

c) route of the road, 

d) type of buildings, 

e) presence of fencing along the roads 



             Field work, fot. Agnieszka Nowak


   In addition, in the BdNP and its buffer zone and in the MNP and a part of its buffer zone situated in the areas covered by the project, the long-distance tracking in the snow was carried out in relation to wolves, lynx and bear. The selected areas were patrolled (by car or on foot) in search of fresh tracks. After finding them, a tracking person followed the tracks or in the opposite direction. During tracking, the following data were recorded:

  • route of movement of the animals (using GPS),
  • species,
  • number of the animals,
  • consistency of the group,
  • way of marking,
  • type of the habitat used by the animals,
  • places of concentration,
  • places of rest,
  • places where the remains of preys of predators were found.

   With regard to the European bison, the telemetry data were also used from the very short period in 2015, for three bulls (transmitter of one of them has lost its activity very soon), bred in captivity and released into the wild in the Forest Division Komańcza, Forest District Wola Michowa.


Strona internetowa opracowana w ramach projektu "Zielone Podkarpacie", dzięki wsparciu udzielonemu przez Islandię, Liechtenstein, i Norwegię poprzez dofinansowanie ze środków MF EOG oraz Norweskiego Mechanizmu Finansowego, a także ze środków budżetu RP w ramach Funduszu dla Organizacji Pozarządowych.

Strona została rozbudowana w ramach projektu "Tropem karpackich żubrów" współfinansowanego przez Unię Europejską z Europejskiego Funduszu Rozwoju Regionalnego oraz z budżetu państwa za pośrednictwem Euroregionu Karpackiego w ramach Programu Współpracy Transgranicznej Rzeczpospolita Polska – Republika Słowacka 2007-2013.

Strona została rozbudowana w ramach projektu "Zielone Podkarpacie - popularyzacja różnorodności biologicznej w wymiarze ekosystemowym" który korzysta z dofinansowania w kwocie 896 496 zł pochodzącego z Islandii, Liechtensteinu i Norwegii w ramach funduszy EOG.

Strona została rozbudowana w ramach projektu "Ochrona ostoi karpackiej fauny puszczańskiej - korytarze migracyjne" realizowanego przy wsparciu Szwajcarii w ramach szwajcarskiego programu współpracy z nowymi krajami członkowskimi UE.

Copyrights 2015. Wszystkie prawa zastrzeżone. projekt i realizacja: ideo