The study used a dual approach to assess the landscape changes:
  1. An update of the CLC2000-based land cover information used by the Egnatia Observatory with recent information. The update was done in a way to guarantee compatibility with existing data and indicators.
  2. In addition, a high resolution land cover map was created to serve as the future baseline. Compared to the CLC-based maps this maps provides a much higher level of detail of the land cover information and therefore allows more precise analysis of changes.
The results show that the impact of the road construction is strongest during the construction phase. Once finalised, the fragmentation will decrease again due to the removal of temporary roads. The study does not consider the effect of mitigation measure

Habitat Monitoring in the Egnatia Motorway Project


The Egnatia Motorway, part of the Trans-European transport Network (TEN), crosses the northern part of Greece from the Port  of Igoumenitsa leading to the Town of Kipi at the Turkish border.  The final stage of this road construction –supported by the EIB - concerns the about 37km long section of the West Egnatia Motorway from Panagia to Grevena.  The Promoter has taken appropriate measures to protect the habitats of a variety of wildlife species that are affected by the road. Objective of this service is to provide the EIB with up-to-date information on the progress of the construction works and on the fragmentation of sensitive areas - focused on the habitat of large mammals like the brown bear (Ursus arctos).    

Executive Summary (extracted from the Service Operation Report prepared by the service provider Geoville)

The demonstration project “Habitat monitoring in the Egnatia motorway project” illustrated the suitability of Earth Observation (EO) data for the monitoring of the progress of the construction work as well as the ability to assess the impact of the construction on the landscape during and after project finalisation. The main objectives of the study were the collection and procurement of relevant input data (e.g. EO and ancillary data), the processing of this data to provide basic information for the progress of the construction work and input for a fragmentation analysis. The detailed analysis of the information was not part of the project. The study used satellite imagery from before the construction and recent images to assess land cover changes and to ingest this information into a model to quantify landscape fragmentation.

Assessment of impact and benefit by the user

Plus:

  • EO data and derived products thereof in this service provides i) information about a linear project in an inaccessible and sensitive region – an overview of such a case is difficult to obtain otherwise; ii) Time comparisons for specific data ranges that are a valuable tool for land cover change analysis, providing useful insights for our work and objective monitoring over time, both within and around project areas; iii) Possibility to highlight where more attention is required and to target monitoring activity.
  • Satellite data allow an independent verification of the project’s progress
  • Satellite imagery is an excellent communication tool which can allow the EIB to visualize and to demonstrate the benefits of its investments
  • An intermediate agent – such as LuxSpace  – is needed to ensure the link between the specialized EO service provider and the EIB user that is in general a non-expert in the field of EO and geo-information. The excellent procurement service provided by LuxSpace allowed us to leave the management of the whole exercise to them having the needed expertise, and saved us valuable time.

 Minus:

  • LuxSpace  made the process as straightforward as possible by translating EIB’s user requirements into the technical specifications necessary to launch the study. However, the major challenge to the EIB for such a study is one of co-ordination. There are many actors involved: EIB, LuxSpace , the service provider, plus the promoter, in this case the Egnatia Observatory network. Fortunately, a fruitful co-operation was achieved and data were shared between the Observatory and the service provider.