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Fragmentation of land and forests

Indicator Fact Sheet (Deprecated)

Assessment made on  01 Jan 2002

Generic metadata


Transport Transport (Primary theme)

Biodiversity Biodiversity

Land use Land use

DPSIR: State


Indicator codes
  • TERM 006
Geographic coverage:

Policy issue:  Preserve biodiversity and ensure connectivity between nature areas

Key messages

  • Land fragmentation in the ACs is less than in the EU, but is increasing with infrastructure development


Key assessment

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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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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1050 Copenhagen K
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