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Land and soil losing ground to human activities

Land and soil are essential for natural systems and human society, but human activities threaten the functioning of the overall land resource, including soil. Why is this happening? What is Europe doing to prevent it? 2015 is the International Year of Soils, so we put these questions to Geertrui Louwagie, project manager for soil assessments and reporting at the European Environment Agency.

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Environmental spatial data: what is happening where?

When taken as a single variable, population density, transport infrastructure, soil types, land use and terrain characteristics, might tell only a part of the story. What links them together and allows us to get a better understanding of what is happening where? How does spatial data help improve Europe's environmental policies? We asked these questions to Stefan Jensen, who leads a group working on implementing the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) – with a focus on spatial reference data – at the European Environment Agency.

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Analysing and managing urban growth

Over the last decades, continuous urban expansion at rates much higher than population growth has resulted in a massive urban footprint on Europe – fragmenting rural space, blocking ecosystem services and increasing the demand for transport and energy.

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Urban soil sealing in Europe

Soil is the earth's living skin and provides us with essential services for life in our planet: production of food; infiltration and cleansing of water and protection against flooding; habitat for plants; areas for recreation and mental health; micro climate regulation, etc. It is such a crucial resource that it can't be ignored. However, particularly in urban areas, soil is being sealed off with increasing housing and infrastructure.

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The time is ripe for green accounting

The shortcomings of GDP as a measure of economic and social wellbeing have been recognised for decades. Now the economic and environmental crises have created the political momentum for a radical revision of national accounting methods.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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