This workshop is part of a broader study launched by DG Environment’s Nature and Biodiversity Unit entitled: ‘Developing new concepts for integration of the Natura 2000 Network into the broader countryside’. The study runs for 18 months from December 2007 to June 2009 and involves the following organisations: Atecma (Spain, project lead) RIKS (Netherlands), TERSYN (France), EEZA-SCIC (Spain) and Ecosystems (Brussels).
The study has four main tasks:
to prepare an assessment of possible trends in land use changes in the EU and it potential effects on the integration of the Natura 2000 network into a wider countryside based on CORINE Landcover data sets (2000) and other available relevant information.
to help the European Commission organise a workshop in Brussels to discuss and help clarify an appropriate Community response to help build a ‘green infrastructure’ for Europe, based on existing experiences across different countries and sectors;
to write a scoping document based on the results of the workshop and on an analysis of the EU’s existing policy and financial framework;
to develop an indicative map of boundary conditions for the connectivity of Natura 2000 at NUTS II level.
For more information about the project contact
Isla de la Toja, 2es. Izda 3°A
E-28400 VILLALBA (Madrid)
Hedwig van Delden
Witmakersstraat 10, box 463
6200 AL Maastricht
Gabriel Del Barrio
Estacion Experimental de Zonas Aridas (CSIC)
General Segura 1
21 Bld General Wahis
Preliminary results of task 1
Task A1: Assessment of trends of socio-economic factors, related to land use changes This task
is being developed by Jacques Robert, TERSYN.
The assessment has five sections:
Section 1: looks at economic contraction/ polarization and dispersal/ depopulation processes and the main
economic processes which have shaped territorial evolution in Europe during the
Section 2: looks at demographic contraction/polarization and dispersal/ depopulation processes and the main
demographic processes which have shaped territorial evolution in Europe during the past decade
Section 3: looks at transport functions and land-use development as well as recent and on going processes
related to the transport sector which are likely to have a significant land-use impacts
Section 4: looks at the dynamics of urban systems;
Section 5: looks at the dynamics of rural Europe and urban-rural interactions
whilst doing this assessment it has to be borne in mind that the search of correlations between
socio-economic evolutions and land-use changes is an extremely difficult
exercise in numerous respects.
The question of scale
at which the socio-economic evolution is observed is a crucial issue.
Aggregating areas with very different economic or demographic evolutions
provides average values which no longer represent the diversity of local developments.
In addition, global economic indicators like change in GDP or in the number of
jobs do not provide very precise information on economic impacts in terms of
land-use changes. Economic growth generated by the development of manufacturing
activities (as it is the case in many countries of central and eastern Europe)
does not have the same land-use impacts as economic growth generated by the
development of services or of tourist activities.
As it is not possible to use a very detailed economic diss-aggregation when working on a Europe-wide
scale, proxies have to be elaborated and for this purpose, a conceptual
approach is necessary. The examination of processes over a long time period is
helpful in identifying relevant concepts for the interaction between
socio-economic evolution and land-use changes.
The concepts used are those of contraction/ polarization/ densification versus dispersal/ depopulation.
They relate to both the spatial evolution of the population and of the economy.
For each of these two fields, two aspects are investigated in relation to the
evolution over the past decade: the nature of the main processes at stake and a
quantitative appraisal of their evolution.
Thus for example, the relations between transport functions and land-use developments are
investigated, especially with regard to the evolution of infrastructure density
(motorways/roads and railways) and to the related fragmentation of space. The
dynamics of urban systems and the evolution of the settlement structure is also
investigated at various scales. It shows, among others, that polarization
trends at macro-level favouring large cities may result in dispersal trends at
the metropolitan/regional level, generating significant pressures on open
The analysis of the dynamics of rural Europe highlights a process of differentiation and economic
diversification with various rural regions gaining populations and/or economic
activities whilst others are affected by depopulation and economic decline. The
intensification of urban-rural interactions is a particularly important
characteristic in this present period and has strong impacts in terms of
This preliminary report is a synthesis of series of recent documents (ESPON, European Commission, EEA
etc.), it will be updated towards the end of the contract to take account of
new information from ESPON etc in light of the recent economic downturn. It is
meant to be used as background information for helping to explain the results
generated by land-use modeling approaches under Task A2.
Task A2 : an assessment of land use changes and trends based on CORINE Land Cover (RIKS) Task A2 is an assessment of historic land use changes that can be analysed for the period 1990-2000,
To be able to build
on the existing work from the LUMOCAP project, the land use categories that were
analysed for the period 1990-2000 and that will be modelled dynamically in the
land use model are:
Industry & commerce,
Tourism & recreation,
Understanding land use change is more than merely looking at the total area of certain land uses
that appeared or disappeared. Also the change in structure and the underlying
reasons of this change are important. It is the complete picture of different
elements that provides an insight in land use changes.
For this reason we have focused on three particular ways to measure the change:
Appearance and disappearance:
Growth and shrink of different land use categories
Cluster size change of different land use categories
The analysis has been carried out at two different spatial scales, at NUTS-2 level and at the level
of groups of countries that we expect would have similar behaviour. Based on
geographical location and history we have selected the following groups of
countries: Western Europe (Austria, Belgium, Denmark France, Germany, Ireland,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands); North- eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary,
Poland, Slovakia,); South-eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia);
Mediterranean (Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain); Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania). In the further refinement of this work we will regroup Baltic and
North-eastern Europe as the neighbourhood rules are quite similar even if the
absolute changes are different
Task A3 :assessment on land use changes based on hypothetical socioeconomic scenarios. (RIKS, TERSYN) Task A3 involves the development of a series of land use maps based on various socio-economic
scenarios and findings from A1 and A2. The land use changes are calculated with
the METRONAMICA model which is incorporated into the LUMOCAP Policy Support System.
The two contrasting long term scenarios for 2030 “Metropolitan growth" and “Revival of rural
development" are tested and a series of dynamic maps were developed for each
scenario to show possible land use changes by 2030. It should be noted
that these scenarios are just two of many that could have been selected. The
models although robust do not pretend to ‘predict the future’ – this would be
far too ambitious in such a small study – but they do help to give some
indications of where the potential demands for, and fragmentation of, land-use
may come from that could affect Natura 2000 sites.
The scenarios are based on the following sets of socio-economic hypotheses:
Strong development of the knowledge and intangible economy;
liberalization of international trade, including agricultural products;
Growing R&D expenditures in EU and national policies; reduction of support to less
developed and more rural regions (CAP; structural funds);
Steadybut limited increase of energy price;
Stronger demographic and economic dynamics in metropolitan regions than in the more
rural regions and than in old industrial regions;
Stronger dependence of rural areas upon alternative income sources (residential economy;
new forms of tourism; organic agriculture etc.); decline of the less attractive
Revival of rural development
The external competition (accelerating globalization) from emerging economies hits
strongly the international competitiveness of the European economy, especially
of the knowledge and intangible economy. Decline of European exports in
high-tech and advanced services sectors;
Very high energy prices affect more the large urban regions which are highly
dependent upon transport functions;
Decline of metropolitan growth; recession in large urban regions;
Strong demand for renewable energy and food products at world scale;
Intensification of agricultural and forestry production in rural areas;
Revitalisation of rural areas in western and eastern Europe, partly based on external investments;
Development of migration flows from urban to rural areas;
Comparison of the two scenarios clearly shows a difference between the amount as well as
the allocation of land use changes. This difference in allocation includes both
the allocation of natural and agricultural areas as well as that of urban land
uses. Moreover, the differences become clear at two levels. At first the
regional demands for land use classes are substantially different in the two
scenarios, also the land use patterns that is
generated from these demands show different characteristics.
Generally speaking, the rural development scenario shows a much more disperse development.
On the one hand this means that regions that are less central and further from the
large urbanized areas are developing stronger, and at the other hand it means
that the new developments within this region are less clustered, and rather
focussed on small cities. This development pattern is best visible in the
allocation of urban land uses, such as residential land use and industrial land
use. But the allocation of these land uses largely influences the agricultural
and natural land uses as well.
Task A4: Evaluation of the integration of Natura 2000 Network into a wider countryside in the different scenarios proposed. The first objective under task A4 is to find a way to measure the integration of the
Natura 2000 Network into a wider countryside.
Because the Natura 2000 network is a patchwork of sites, the network itself is likely
not to be stable or persistent unless its surrounding landscape makes a
contribution to this. This is at least in part because the integration of
Natura 2000 into the wider countryside controls certain factors that are
relevant for achieving its conservation objectives. This includes its resilience
to climate change, maintaining biodiversity, or ensuring connectivity
between designated sites. The latter attribute is of special relevance for this
It is fair to assume that if the landscape outside a protected area is the same as the
landscape inside of the protected area, then the flow of species and genes
through the landscape matrix surrounding the area should be relatively easy. As
differences in the landscape inside and outside Natura 2000 sites grow, so the
difficulties for flow between sites increase. Eventually the landscape matrix
can even become a barrier, preventing any cross flows from occurring.
When the landscape matrix surrounding a Natura 2000 site allows the flow of species and genes in
and out of the area, it will have favourable boundary conditions for
connectivity. Boundary conditions are the ensemble of external factors which
have a defined effect (positive or negative) on landscape connectivity for
habitats and species. They include physical properties of the environment as
climate, lithology, topography and the properties derived from human land use.
This work was commissioned to provide a generic estimation of the above-described
integration using input data from existing databases. The instrumental
objective was to detect the resemblance between the territory within Natura
2000 site and that in their immediate surrounding, using meaningful regional
To measure those boundary conditions for connectivity and hence the integration of
Natura 2000 into a wider countryside and using CLC as a source of
attributes, we decided to devise a method to compare the landscape
inside Natura 2000 sites and the landscape outside which might allow us to
measure in quantitative terms the resemblance between both landscapes.
Nine resemblance coefficients were selected and tested in order to select the most appropriate ones. Finally
the coefficient selected was the Orloci Chord Index, which is a coefficient of
distance, metric and normalized. It varies form 0 to 1,414. “0" means
minimum dissimilarity (maximum similarity) and “1,414" means maximum
dissimilarity (minimum similarity).
NUTS 2 was used as the spatial level for the analysis for several reasons. First, because
the NUTS2 level in most countries is the level at which Natura 2000 is managed
and sites are designated. Second, the socioeconomic data to build the scenarios
in task A3 is homogeneous and available for all member states at NUTS 2 level.
So this would allow us to measure integration using in the above mentioned scenarios.
But to diminish the effects of ecological contrast in the analysis
we further subdivided the NUTS 2 regions according
to biogeographic regions as defined in the Habitats Directive. Hence
if a NUTS 2 region included two or more biogeographic regions
inside, we analysed each sub region separately.
With this method the integration of Natura 2000 network was measured for CLC 1990, CLC
2000, and using the two hypothetical land use scenarios.
The Orloci Index does not measure the level of conservation in a given region,
but a high level property that controls permeability of
the non-protected territory to the flow or transit of the habitats and species
harboured in the protected areas. This permeability is conditioned by natural or
In a given region with a high Orloci Index, the protected areas network can
be perfectly connected between sites and with the surrounding regions, but the
unprotected landscape will have a low permeability to this flow.
In a given region with a low Orloci Index, the protected areas network can be
small, scattered and without connection between them, but the unprotected
landscape will present a high permeability to the flow of natural habitats and
This combined functioning among protected sites and unprotected landscape is what we
understand as integration of protected areas into a wider landscape.
Then, the Orloci Chord Index is a good tool to measure the integration of
Natura 2000 network into a wider countryside.