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You are here: Home / Environmental topics / Land use
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Highlight Increasing fragmentation of landscape threatens European wildlife
Roads, motorways, railways, intensive agriculture and urban developments are breaking up Europe’s landscapes into ever-smaller pieces, with potentially devastating consequences for flora and fauna across the continent, according to a new joint report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The report, 'Landscape fragmentation in Europe', demonstrates how areas of land are often unable to support high levels of biodiversity when they are split into smaller and smaller parcels.
Located in News
Figure Intensity of urban sprawl 2000–2006 in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (above) and Ireland (below)
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Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
Publication application/x-troff-ms 10 messages for 2010 — Mountain ecosystems
European mountain regions provide essential ecosystem services for lowlands and host a great diversity of habitats and species, many adapted to specific extreme climatic conditions. Mountain ecosystems are fragile and vulnerable, and face severe threats from land abandonment, intensifying agriculture, impacts of infrastructure development, unsustainable exploitation and climate change.
Located in Publications
Highlight Urban sprawl eating into wildlife habitats in Europe
As cities expand into the countryside, the habitats of many animals and plants are reduced. Roads, railways, car parks and buildings also split up habitats, dividing wildlife populations into increasingly smaller groups.
Located in News
Figure Projections of arable land use
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
Figure Example of different urban patterns
Example of different urban patterns in the neighbouring areas of the Netherlands (rather compact) and Belgium (rather sprawled), 2006
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
Figure Variations in topsoil organic carbon content across Europe
The map shows the percentage of organic carbon content in the surface horizon of soils in Europe. The darker regions correspond to soils with high values of organic carbon. The darkest colours, especially in Estonia, Fennoscandinavia, Ireland and the United Kingdom, denote peatlands.
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
Figure Land cover distribution in Europe in 2000 and 2050
Land cover distribution in Europe in 2000 and 2050
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
Land use
Europe is one of the most intensively used continents on the globe, with the highest share of land (up to 80%) used for settlement, production systems (including agriculture and forestry) and infrastructure. Conflicting land-use demands often arise, requiring decisions that will involve hard trade-offs. There are several important drivers for land use in Europe: the increasing demand for living space per person and the link between economic activity, increased mobility and growth of transport infrastructure usually result in land take. Land is a finite resource: how it is used constitutes one of the principal reasons for environmental change, with significant impacts on quality of life and ecosystems, as well as on the management of infrastructure.
Located in Environmental topics Land use
Publication Climate for a transport change. TERM 2007: indicators tracking transport and environment in the European Union
Located in Publications
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