IENE – the Infra Eco Network Europe

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Yes, but what is an IENE, you ask???

IENE is a biennal gathering of folks interested in mitigating the deleterious effects of infrastructure on the habitats we build it in and on.

And what does that mean???

We have built infrastructure–roads, railways, power transmission lines, pipelines–in a way that creates barriers to the daily, seasonal or breeding migration of all sorts of animals, including humans. The most obvious indication of the habitat infringement and fragmentation this creates is roadkill.

In areas without measures to assist in crossing infrastructure barriers, all kinds of animals are squashed daily, and nightly, from beetles, snakes and turtles to deer, herons and bats. Less obviously, some animals stop attempting to cross these barriers, and the resulting land for daily foraging, and for seasonal mating, gets systematically diminished as we build more roads and develop more residential and industrial areas.

This year the IENE conference was held in Potsdam, Germany, and included presentations, posters and field trips. The images below are from a bus trip to view various sites that are part of an ecological network in the state of Brandenburg, including a just-completed wildlife overpass on the A9 with establishing vegetation and motion-activated video cameras powered by solar panels.

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Conference attendees include biologists, highway engineers, ecologists, designers and project managers interested in creating robust ecological habitats in the midst of infrastructures that fragment the landscape. Folks came from all over Europe, as well as countries in Asia, South America, and North America, to discuss research, strategies and projects.

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Cynthia presented two posters, one on the class she teaches in the Netherlands about water, ecology and infrastructure to emerging professionals, and one about an ongoing documentation of a site where a habitat corridor is planned near Almere, also in the Netherlands.

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Meteek hopes to spport and participate in projects that reconnect our fragmented habitats, for other animals and for humans.

There is a complementary biennial conference in North America, ICOET, which was held in Duluth in 2009. At that conference, filmmaker Eric Bendick showed his award-winning documentary “Division Street,” on how roads can fragment habitat and featuring projects that are mitigating these effects in Florida, Montana and Canada.

Here is the trailer for Division Street:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mPnUu84osE?wmode=transparent]

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