Land use drivers of vegetation productivity change.

Policy Question
  Indicator codes: LSI 009

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Key messages

(25 Apr 2019)

Vegetation productivity indicates the spatial distribution and change of the vegetation cover - a key characteristic of ecosystem condition. 

Vegetation productivity in Europe on average has a regional pattern of increase and decline. Increase was observed most in South Eastern Europe, over croplands and wetlands in the Steppic region and grasslands and sparsely vegetated lands and in the Black Sea and Anatolian regions. Decline happened most over croplands and grasslands in the Atlantic region as well as over wetlands in the Alpine region.

Climate has important influence on vegetation productivity in Europe. Strongest driver is precipitation, especially in the South Eastern regions. Decreasing number of frost days increased productivity in the Pannonian region but decreased productivity in the Atlantic region.

Climatic variations are important drivers of vegetation productivity, but land use changes are even stronger. Productivity was most increased by agricultural land management and converting other lands to agriculture, whereas largest decrease was caused by sprawling urban areas.

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