Land use

About 80% of Europe’s surface area is shaped by land use in cities, agriculture and forestry

We cannot live without well-managed, multi-functional lands. Land is the terrestrial foundation of society; it is the platform for infrastructure and for residential, commercial and industrial areas, and is a source of economic growth. However, an increasing share of our planet’s land area is in some way modified by human activities, leading to unsustainable changes in our landscapes. Together with climate change and severe weather events such as floods and drought, these changes stress land resources. In extreme cases, such changes might lead to unhealthy and degraded lands.

Environmental Accounting Reference Layers - maps

The map viewer of the Integrated Data Platform visualizes spatial datasets by web map services. Those spatial datasets are selected which are frequently used in assessments. The web map viewer enables spatial overlays so that the datasets can be interactively explored. Through exploring the datasets their potentials in environmental assessments can be better understood.

Data sources:

More information

 -For exploring contextual details about the added datasets, please activate the information icon in the upper right corner. Legends of the added datasets can be explored by activating the legend icon.

Web map services are produced in ArcGIS desktop and visualized in ArcGIS Online. Once a web map service is quality controlled, the service is registered in the Spatial Data Infrastructure and read into the IDP Web Map Viewer.

The web application offers three main functions to the user for data exploration:

  1. Search for a web map service: the search uses 1) keywords (i.e. tags such as land use), or 2) topic names (such as biodiversity). The keywords are also searched in the abstract of the related spatial dataset, which is harvested from EEA`s Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). Hence, all datasets can be found which have e.g. Corine Land Cover in their abstract.

  2. The user is able to visualise and explore the web maps identified by the search function. Furthermore, selected web maps can be overlaid for further exploration of commonalities between spatial datasets.

  3. Once the wished services are found and explored by overlays and zoom functions, the user can find all relevant semantic information of the spatial datasets when activating the info button. These semantic information are combinations of technical information coming from the SDI and other semantics harvested from the content management system.


Imperviousness in Europe

This interactive data viewer provides accounts of land surface sealing status and change in Europe (EEA39 and EU28) for every 3 years between 2006 and 2015, measured by the high resolution Copernicus imperviousness datasets. The viewer facilitates the assessment of soil sealing over a specific period, which can be analyzed within user defined spatial units such as administrative regions, biogeographical regions or land cover classes.

Soil is a vital component of natural capital, hosting rich biodiversity and providing critical ecosystem services, such as food production, water purification and carbon storage. However, European soils are under increasing pressure and comprehensive monitoring to asses soil health is lacking. Published today, a European Environment Agency (EEA) report presents a core set of soil indicators and critical limits for soil health.

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.

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.

Published: 05 May 2022

This report analyses data from the Urban Atlas of the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service. It focuses on land use changes (land take, soil sealing) and socio‑economic trends in 662 functional urban areas — cities and their commuting zones — in the EU and the UK.

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