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Urban sprawl continues at the cost of nature in Europe

Land take and the sealing of soil with asphalt, concrete or buildings increased in Europe’s urban areas from 2012 to 2018, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment, published today. Increasing land take and soil sealing make Europe’s ecosystems less resilient, with negative impacts on biodiversity and weaker potential for climate change adaptation.

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What role can Europe’s land and marine habitats play in carbon storage and sequestration?

What is the carbon storage and sequestration potential of Europe’s many land and marine habitats? A first scoping analysis, published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA), found that forests and wetlands can play an important role in storing carbon but doing so should take account of potential impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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Cities play pivotal roles in shifting to green, sustainable future

European cities have the potential to lead the way towards green, sustainable future, according to two assessments on urban environmental change, published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) today.

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Developing accounting methods for land cover changes

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has developed land accounts that allow for assessing changes in land cover types. These changes can have environmental impacts, such as decline in biodiversity, reduced carbon stocks, or weakened capacity for food production and flood regulation.

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Latest evaluation shows Europe's nature in serious, continuing decline

Unsustainable farming and forestry, urban sprawl and pollution are the top pressures to blame for a drastic decline in Europe’s biodiversity, threatening the survival of thousands of animal species and habitats. Moreover, European Union (EU) nature directives and other environmental laws still lack implementation by Member States. Most protected habitats and species are not in good conservation status and much more must be done to reverse the situation, according to the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) ‘State of nature in the EU’ report, published today.

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Connecting protected areas with green infrastructure would strengthen Europe’s ecosystems

The European Union’s (EU) network of protected sites, Natura 2000, could be further connected with green infrastructure to create a trans-European nature network. According to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today, highways and other infrastructure currently disconnect about 15 % of the Natura 2000 sites from other nature areas, reducing their capacity for ecosystem services.

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EU launches new Forest Information System to improve knowledge on forests and woodlands

Amid a need for more accurate, up-to-date and harmonised data and monitoring on Europe’s valuable woodlands, the European Environment Agency and the European Commission today launched a new Forest Information System for Europe (FISE) which aims to become Europe’s knowledge hub to monitor the state, health and sustainability of Europe’s many forests.

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Protecting Europe's land and soil resources is fundamental for a sustainable future

Land and soil underpin life on our planet. The way we currently use these vital and finite resources in Europe is not sustainable. Human activities — growing cities and infrastructure networks, intensive agriculture, pollutants and greenhouse gases released to the environment — transform Europe’s landscapes and exert increasing pressure on land and soil. The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) Signals 2019, published today, looks at a series of issues linked to land and soil, including links to climate change, agriculture, soil biodiversity, contamination and governance, and stresses why we need to manage them sustainably.

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Climate change threatens future of farming in Europe

Crop and livestock production is projected to decrease and may even have to be abandoned in parts of Europe’s southern and Mediterranean regions due to the increased negative impacts of climate change, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today. The study says that adapting to climate change must be made a top priority for the European Union’s agriculture sector if it is to improve resilience to extreme events like droughts, heatwaves and floods.

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Better planning and methods needed to restore nature

Maintaining natural capital is vital for the function of our societies and people’s well-being. A new briefing from the European Environment Agency (EEA), published today, analyses how to plan for green infrastructure and ecosystem restoration, which in turn can enhance biodiversity, support green economy and create job opportunities.

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Restoring floodplains and wetlands offer value-for-money solution to river flooding

Investing in ‘green infrastructure’ like restoring floodplains or wetlands to bolster flood prevention not only generates more environmental and socio-economic benefits, especially in the long term, but also lowers the amount of financial investment needed to defend against damaging floods. This is the conclusion of a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today, which assesses the green options available in building climate resilience in wake of the increased risk posed by river flooding.

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Unsustainable land use threatens European landscapes

Accelerating rates of construction, changing demographics, technological changes, and climate change are some of the key drivers influencing the use of Europe’s vast landscapes. A European Environment Agency report published today says that the continent’s land use increasingly sees striking changes and conflicts over land demand which will require reconciling place-based management and macro policies to foster responsible land use.

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Land recycling helps Europe to maintain its land resource

Land degradation and taking land for urban development threaten critical ecosystem services, including provision of food and water, climate regulation and recreation. A new report, by the European Environment Agency (EEA), shows how land recycling, such as reusing neglected sites and turning roads or parking lots to green spaces or residential areas, can have positive impacts on the environment and support Europe’s transition towards a circular and green economy.

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Better targeted measures needed to tackle urban sprawl in Europe

There is growing evidence that urban sprawl is having an increasingly negative effect on the environment and on the quality of life across Europe. Existing actions to prevent, contain or control such development have had limited results. Better targeted measures are necessary. That is the main conclusion of a joint European Environment Agency (EEA) and Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) report published today.

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Better integration of land use impacts needed across EU policies

Land is a valuable and limited resource. The environmental impact of land used for building new roads, houses or energy grids should be better integrated into European Union policies, according to a report released today by the European Environment Agency. A preliminary review on how land is used in the EU found that more attention should be paid to environmental concerns.

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More action required to protect soil in the city

Industrial activity, pollution and exploitation are degrading the quality of soils located in and around our cities, according to a report released today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Efficient use of soils supported by better planning and policy making in urban areas is needed to make sure that this valuable natural resource helps our cities remain liveable and able to deal with challenges like climate change.

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Is Europe doing enough to ensure long-term health of forests?

Climate change, pollution and encroaching human development are posing an increased threat to the long-term stability and health of European forests, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report released today. Forest ecosystems play a vital role for the environment and in combatting climate change. The report recommends that better sustainable management is needed to ensure this precious green resource is there for future generations.

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Floodplain management: reducing flood risks and restoring healthy ecosystems

Floodplains once covered wide stretches along European rivers, but today only fractions of them remain. These ecosystems have an important role to play in reducing flood risks and are also the natural habitat of many endangered species. A new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) provides an overview of significant floods in Europe and looks at the role of floodplains in flood protection, water management and nature conservation.

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Can nature help reduce the impacts of climate change?

Building and managing a well-planned network of natural areas might provide an effective and, in many cases, cheaper solution for coping with natural disasters such as floods or landslides. A new report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) explores how ‘green infrastructure’ can help Europe prepare for and reduce the loss from weather- and climate-related hazards.

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Strengthening cooperation on Earth observation and the environment

The European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today, which sets out common objectives and areas of cooperation in the field of Earth observation and the environment over the coming years.

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