IENE Today

IENE (Infrastructure Ecology Network Europe) was set up in 1996. Its mission is to promote the exchange of knowledge, experience and best practice in safe and sustainable pan-European transport infrastructure. This independent network has more than 400 members consisting of researchers, engineers, decision makers and infrastructure operators. IENE functions as an international and interdisciplinary forum. It supports cross-border cooperation in research, mitigation, planning, design, construction and maintenance in the field of biodiversity and transport infrastructure.

Every two years, IENE organises an international conference to present cutting-edge research, identify pressing issues and problems, discuss effective solutions and map out future activities in the field of transport ecology and infrastructure.

To keep the exchange of knowledge going between conferences, these discussions feed into the Wildlife and Traffic handbook that IENE has been curating since 2003. This handbook highlights solutions and measures aimed at mitigating the fragmentation of habitats and animal mortality due to transport infrastructures. It compiles the knowledge accumulated over the past decades on ecological mitigation, as well as best practices identified through a literature review and expert contributions. Its objective is to promote solutions to reconcile biodiversity and transport infrastructure that are evidence-based, action-oriented, feasible, cost-effective and innovative. The handbook aims to be up to date with the latest findings in research and best practice, but will still rest on solid and generally accepted conclusions and experiences.

The handbook will also be further expanded through the European BISON project, in which IENE is a technical leader. This project, the first of its kind supported by the European Union, is funding a €3 million Coordination and Support Action (CSA) on transport and biodiversity. In particular, the project aims to identify future research and innovation needs, sustainable and resilient construction, maintenance and inspection methods and materials that can be used by different transport modes to mitigate pressure on biodiversity. It builds on more than a decade of IENE conferences and will publish a Strategic Research and Deployment Agenda on the topic of biodiversity and infrastructure in 2023.

The knowledge gathered by IENE is also intended to help the private and semi-public sector. By launching the Transport4nature initiative at the IUCN Congress in September 2021, IENE is inviting transport companies operating at the European level to make commitments to biodiversity. This initiative is accompanied by the work of the IENE Scientific and Expert Committee, and builds on the wide knowledge accumulated in the community for several decades.

At a time when many States are investing massively in infrastructure to stimulate the economy and job creation, the knowledge provided by the IENE network is more than ever essential to put in place sustainable solutions and prevent infrastructure from causing natural and climatic damage that could last for decades and lead to points of no return. We hope that the reading of this special issue will be inspiring, for researchers, practitioners and decision-makers to continue their efforts to reconcile biodiversity protection and infrastructure planning and to implement efficient solutions on the ground.

Though IENE has been a network of experts on the thematic of infrastructure and biodiversity since 1996, it became a legal entity in 2021, founded by the SwedishTransport Administration (Trafiverket), the French Ministry for the Environment (Ministère de la Transition écologique) and the Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure (Rijkswaterstaat).

IENE founding documents are the Associations’ statutes and its internal rules of procedures. Both documents can be consulted below. When you become a member of IENE you have to read and accept the statutes and internal rules of procedures.