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This report provides a comparable measurement of urban sprawl for 32 European countries at three levels (the country level, the NUTS-2 region level and the 1-km2 cell level) and for two years (2006 and 2009). The analysis is based on the Copernicus system which monitors the Earth and collects data by different sources. This data provides information about a number of thematic areas, including land. Under land a pan-European component delivers information about various areas, including the level of sealed soil (imperviousness), through high resolution layers taken from satellite imagery. The analysis uses new urban sprawl metrics taking into account the way built-up areas are laid out and how they are used. It also looks at the factors which contribute to an increase or decrease in urban sprawl. The results confirm the conclusions of earlier EEA reports namely that in many parts of Europe current levels of urban sprawl have contributed to detrimental ecological, economic and social effects. This gives cause for concern and such effects may increase alongside planned urban development.
The 2011 Roadmap to a resource efficient Europe states, in its milestone of actions to address land as a resource, that 'By 2020, EU policies take into account their direct and indirect impact on land use in the EU and globally. This report presents a methodology for the assessment of European Union (EU) policies in terms of their land-related implications in Europe and provides an initial testing of the methodology across key EU policies and two in-depth case studies, which focus on Cohesion Policy spending on transport in Poland and Spain.
In this report, we have explored the notion of soil as an integral part of ecosystems and natural capital, and thus focused on the stock of the soil resource and the flows of valuable goods and services that can be derived from this stock. The concept of natural capital recognises soil as an asset that is of use and benefit to society (also called a 'productive' asset). Putting soil within the framework of the land system allows a connection to be made with governance, including soil resource efficiency.
These are the first EU-level water accounts that display water balances at monthly and sub-basin levels. EEA developed these accounts in the hope that the many data gaps and methodological imperfections will be ironed out in the future.
The concept of green infrastructure and its integration into policies using monitoring systems
Forests do not only provide us food, fibre and medicine, they regulate our climate and improve our quality of life. Human activities and climate change exert increasing pressure on our forest resources and the services they provide. With increasing demand on forests services on the one side, and uncertainty and risks linked to climate change on the other, we need to ensure that forests can continue fulfilling their multifunctional role.
Joint EEA-FOEN report
The report assesses the occurrence and impacts of disasters and the underlying hazards such as storms, extreme temperature events, forest fires, water scarcity and droughts, floods, snow avalanches, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes and technological accidents in Europe for the period 1998-2009.
Land use shapes our environment in positive and negative ways. Productive land is a critical resource for food and biomass production and land use strongly influences soil erosion and soil functions such as carbon storage. Land management largely determines the beauty of Europe's landscapes. It is important therefore to monitor land cover and land-use change through tools such as Corine land cover. Data on land-cover change in Europe from 2000–2006 show that growth in built-up areas and forest land leads to a continued loss of agricultural land. In turn, global economic and environmental change will increasingly influence the way Europeans use land (e.g. as communities work to mitigate and adapt to climate change). Policy responses are needed to help resolve conflicting land-use demands and to guide land-use intensity to support environmental land management.
Europe's mountain areas have social, economic and environmental capital of significance for the entire continent. This importance has been recognised since the late 19th century through national legislation; since the 1970s through regional structures for cooperation; and since the 1990s through regional legal instruments for the Alps and Carpathians. The European Union (EU) first recognised the specific characteristics of mountain areas in 1975 through the designation of Less Favoured Areas (LFAs). During the last decade, EU cohesion policy and the Treaty of Lisbon have both focused specifically on mountains.
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.
Within the framework of the CAP, the last 50 years have seen increasing attention to biodiversity, but without clear benefits so far. With agriculture covering about half of EU land area, Europe's biodiversity is linked inextricably to agricultural practices, creating valuable agro-ecosystems across the whole of Europe.
Short assessment of the status of the European forest ecosystems
Developments in land‑use patterns across Europe are generating considerable concern, particularly in relation to achievement of environmental goals. Land‑use trends — such as urban sprawl and land abandonment — are jeopardising the future for sustainable land use. Moreover, these trends endanger the achievement of European environmental goals in areas such as biodiversity protection and water management and also hinder the effectiveness of instruments in these areas, including the Natura 2000 network and the Water Framework Directive.
Climate for a transport change. TERM 2007: indicators tracking transport and environment in the European Union03 Mar 2008
This technical report provides guidelines for the update of Corine land cover data for the reference year 2006.
In this report, we underline the changes that have occurred in the environment and socio-economic context to help explain many of the environmental trends that have been observed. We identify successes and improvements but also register old legacies that need further effort such as, in particular, air pollution, water issues and contaminated sites. New threats, which challenge piecemeal solutions and call for integrated strategic measures at European and global levels, are described such as persistent chemicals in the environment, biodiversity loss, sustainable production and consumption and climate change. And a new overview is given of the state of European marine areas and inland seas.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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