Based on previous initiatives on connectivity for wildlife in the Carpathians, the OBWIC project (Open Borders for Wildlife In the Carpathians) developed a methodology for identification and designation of ecological corridors of trans frontier interest in the ENI Carpathians (Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine). The project area covered approximately 4 million ha. Umbrella species used for connectivity model are brown bear, Eurasian lynx, grey wolf and golden jackal.
For the identification of ecological corridors, a Habitat Suitability Model (HSM) was created. It defines core areas, which represented large areas of forest habitat. Due to the fragmentation of large carnivores’ habitats, linkage landscape structures were identified between previously drafted core areas of distribution. These linkage areas contain usually less favourable habitats for large carnivores but structurally allow the movement/migration of umbrella species between core areas. Mainly based on the HSM and OSM data, the conception of a Habitat Resistance Model (HRM) enabled the definition of the ecological connectivity model which identified the ecological corridors.
For the designation of ecological corridors, the focus was set on critical connectivity zones (bottlenecks). Spots with critical permeability, due to presence of barriers, settlements, etc., were also subject of field inspection.