Fragmentation of land and forests
Assessment made on 01 Jan 2002
ClassificationTransport (Primary theme)
- TERM 006
Policy issue: Preserve biodiversity and ensure connectivity between nature areas
Land fragmentation in the ACs is less than in the EU, but is increasing with infrastructure development
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity considers fragmentation to be a major threat to habitats and species populations. This is reflected in the pan-European biological and landscape diversity strategy as well as in the European Community biodiversity strategy (European Commission, 1998) and the EC habitats directive. The average size of contiguous land units in ACs not cut through by major transport infrastructure is 175 km2, which is about 40 % higher than the EU average. This can be partly explained by the lower density of road and rail networks in the ACs. The historical difference in land ownership has also played a role, with larger, previously state-owned patches in the ACs against smaller, privately owned parcels in the EU. With infrastructure development in the ACs focusing on road development, there is a risk that fragmentation of their territory will increase. Already, fragmentation by transport infrastructure in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia is more severe than the EU average.
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