Category Archives: landscape

earth day banner

Earth Day 2023

earth day statistics imageEarth Day is an annual celebration which has been taking place since 1970. It started as an attempt towards making people more environmentally aware and active.

Over the last years it is more relevant than ever and it has been taking in more and more significance since the climate crisis is rapidly evolving. It is celebrated on 22nd April every year in more than 193 countries worldwide.

Earth Day aims to raise awareness about protecting our planet, conserving the environment and its natural resources.

The theme for Earth Day 2023 was “Invest in Our Planet” (watch the theme video) and there are various ways to participate in the celebrations whether you are kids, students, teachers, parents or you just want to make the difference.

After all, the decisions we make as individuals, as trivial as they may seem, can play a crucial role in the effect they have on the planet. You can find out about all the events that have been taking place around the world from this map.

Moreover, visit the website and find out everything you want to know; the history of Earth Day, how to become a member, how to get involved in activities, view and use the available toolkits and many more!

landscape picture

Landscapes and rewilding in Europe

On 19 July 2000, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted the European Landscape Convention and decided to open it for signature to the 41 Member States of the Council of Europe.

The European Landscape Convention, also known as the Florence Convention, was the first international treaty to be exclusively devoted to all aspects of European landscape. It aims to fill the legal vacuum caused by the absence, at European level, of a specific, comprehensive reference text devoted entirely to the conservation, management and improvement of European landscapes in the international legal instruments on the environment, regional planning and the cultural heritage.

It applies to the entire territory of the signatories and covers natural, rural, urban and peri-urban areas. It concerns landscapes that might be considered outstanding as well as everyday or degraded landscapes. The Convention is aimed at: the protection, management and planning of all landscapes and raising awareness of the value of a living landscape.

The European Landscape Convention introduced a Europe-wide concept centring on the quality of landscape protection, management and planning and covering the entire territory, not just outstanding landscapes. Through its ground-breaking approach and its broader scope, it complements other work done by the Council of Europe and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

Council of Europe Heritage Priorities

coe cultural heritage image

World Heritage Convention timeline

unesco cultural heritage image unesco cultural heritage image

Recent research by Quintera-Uribe and others (2022) suggests that large-scale ecological restoration of the multiple dimensions of landscape is crucial for effective biodiversity conservation and combating climate change. They analyse the main characteristics of participatory scenarios in Europe and suggest going beyond existing participatory activities centred on developing exploratory or target-seeking scenarios. They consider future-seeking scenarios related to ‘Nature for Society’ and ‘Nature as Culture’ and identify gaps for further work. Rewilding landscapes was an important theme in this research.

rewilding europe imageAccording to Harris (2021), rewilding was first discussed in the 1980s as a continental-scale vision to protect large tracts of wilderness and connect these areas with migration corridors. It is now considered to be a shift from human-centred, intensively managed landscapes to humans sharing their lands with the rest of nature.  In Europe rewilding is commonly connected with returning abandoned agricultural land to nature or allowing natural processes, like the coastal erosion of cliffs to take place with protecting them from the waves. Find out more about Rewilding European Landscapes

New initiatives like the Endangered Landscapes Programme are being developed restoring landscapes across Europe. Find out more by playing the video.


Danube banner image

The Landscape Award

landscape convention logoThe Landscape Award of the Council of Europe is intended to raise civil society’s awareness of the value of landscapes, of their role and of changes to them. The Award is conferred every two years. Its objective is to acknowledge exemplary practical initiatives aimed at successful landscape quality objectives on the territories of the Parties to the Landscape Convention.

The Landscape Convention, established by the Council of Europe, is the first international treaty devoted exclusively to all dimensions of the landscape. It addresses the major challenges in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, with a view to sustainable development.

Mosel river imageSustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development is an organising principle that aims to meet human development goals while also enabling natural systems to provide necessary natural resources and ecosystem services to humans.

There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations, which are an urgent call for action by all countries.

The Resolution on the Rules governing the Landscape Award of the Council of Europe, adopted by the Committee of Ministers, recalls that the European Landscape Convention institutes the Landscape Award of the Council of Europe and that it is in keeping with the work carried out by the Council of Europe concerning human rights, democracy and sustainable development. It promotes effectively the territorial dimension of human rights and democracy by acknowledging the importance of measures taken to improve the landscape for people’s living conditions.

Find out more about the Landscape Convention and Landscape Award

Pesticides in the landscape

Pesticides are a serious threat to food and agricultural systems. In the field, they kill not only pests, but also pollinators such as bees, and harm the quality of soils. They threaten the health of farmers and agricultural workers. But their toxic imprint will spiral in the landscape  – as pesticides can be found in food, water and air. They find their way into our bodies and our living environment.image on survey

Pesticide Checkup is an interesting initiative started earlier this year has now produced some interesting insights regarding the way pesticide influence our environments and more importantly – the human body.

Between May and August 2022, 300 people from across 10 European countries participated in the citizen science project to get their hair tested for pesticide residues. The independent laboratory EXPOZOM analysed the samples for the presence of 30 different pesticides.

The key findings from the report show that:
• Nearly every third person (29%) had residues of at least one pesticide in their hair. 25 out of the 30 sampled substances were detected.
• Farmers, farm workers and people living in rural areas usually had higher concentrations of pesticides in their hair.
• The top 3 pesticides detected were: the herbicide Prosulfocarb, the fungicide Tebuconazol and the insecticide Acetamiprid.

farm to fork diagramHowever, the results are not representative of the overall EU population due to under-sampling, the finding shows a trend and is consistent with empirical studies on the topic. Read the full report here.

Back in May 2020, the grassroots union published the Farm to Fork Strategy – a statement of intent for transforming food systems.

One of the goals of the strategy is to reduce the composition of pesticides by 50% by 2030. However, this goal is not legally bound to national governments and agrochemical lobbies.
The EU is currently planning its pesticide regulations, but there is a risk of less ambitious outcomes than European citizens would like. According to Angeliki Lyssimachou,

Senior Science Policy Officer at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), “Surveys like the Pesticide-CheckUp show that EU-wide measures to reduce exposure to toxic pesticides are urgently needed to safeguard the health of vulnerable groups, such as farmers and residents of agricultural areas. European governments and the Commission must put health first and move towards an agricultural model that does not depend on pesticides or other harmful chemicals”.

Find out more: GoodFood-GoodFarming

thessaloniki image


GEOCULTURA is the 8th Biennale of Contemporary Art logo

The city of Thessaloniki, Greece hosts the 8th Biennale of Contemporary Art which takes place from December 2022 to May 2023.

The main theme is Geocultura, a term deriving from the combination of “geo-“ and “culture” pointing out the connection between the land cultivation and the mind cultivation.

“The exchange of ideas, values and norms, within a context of a multitude of cultural, geographical and political debates and conflicts, is at the core of the concept of ‘geoculture’ in the political and social sciences.”geocultura venue

Modern life demands and successive crises, such as economic, climate and refugee, have made people redefine their connection with the land; turn to organic farming, try to achieve better management of natural resources, protect biodiversity. Art, perceived as a means to understand the world, aims to raise our environmental awareness and the artists who take part pose questions and offer various versions of the future through their works.

The Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is financed by Greece and the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) is organised by MOMus and implemented by MOMus-Museum of Contemporary ArtMacedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections.

For more information visit the website

steppe landscape

Partner meeting tests GEOLAND app

geoland meeting During two days of October 2022, the GEOLAND Transnational Partner Meeting was held in Zaragoza, Spain. All the participants spent one whole day meeting, discussing the latest progress of the project with special attention on the mapping app developed by University of Ghent.

This app permits data gathering in the field and its aim is to allow the landscape to be evaluated in situ by students or even by the public. The use is very simple, everyone just has to open the app, save the GPS location, respond to a short survey and make a photo, which completes the collected information.

Next day, a field visit and app beta testing was scheduled. Five places with important landscape value were visited.

The app developed for the landscape evaluation was shown to present great functionality and very relevant results, so in following months it will be used with students and the general public.

Explore the Storymap to find out more.



handbook image

GEOLAND Handbook and Technical Annex available in 6 languages

The GEOLAND project seeks to improve and promote the engagement of Higher Education (HE) institutions, professors and students, in monitoring actions leading to effective decision-making for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention (ELC).handbook cover image

With this in mind the project has published an Educational Handbook and Technical Annex in English, Bulgarian, Dutch, Greek, Italian and Spanish.

These are available for download from

The Handbook includes state-of-the-art information and materials on learning and teaching perspectives, methodologies including citizen science, and Landscape Character Assessment related to the European Landscape Convention.

The Technical Annex complements the Handbook in order to provide details of the five methodological stages important for Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) by using GIS and public participation.

The five stages offer information, advice, resources and tools to carry out a Landscape Character Assessment for Natura 2000 or other sites of interest, are:
i) Purpose definition
ii) Desk-based data collection
iii) Field-based data collection
iv) Classification and
v) Overall evaluation

Training resources are now being developed to support university teachers and academics to implement the approach with their students.


vico image

NATURA 2000 site at risk in Italy

Organisations for the protection of the environment take action

site satellite imageAs a whole, Nature 2000 sites in Italy protect 130 habitats, 89 species of flora and 111 species of fauna (of which 21 mammals, 11 reptiles, 16 amphibians, 25 fish, 38 invertebrates) and about 381 bird species.

Lake Vico is a Natura 2000 site created in a caldera lake in the northern Lazio region, central Italy. It is one of the highest major Italian lakes, with an altitude of 510 m. Administratively, it is part of the municipalities of Caprarola and Ronciglione.

The area is famous for its extensive Beech forest, which is one of the most southerly in Europe. The elevation, plus the surrounding sides of the crater, create conditions cool enough for the continued survival of the trees. A large part of the northern side of the crater is a Natura 2000 nature reserve to protect this forest.

The area is rich in biodiversity and consists of many protected areas, parks and natural reserves. Its habitats and species are so important that Lake Vico has been classified as a Natura 2000 site. Natura 2000 is a network of areas protected by the EU. vico image

However, Lake Vico, is currently at risk due to the intensive cultivation of hazelnuts by one of the giants of the world confectionery industry.

For this reason Client Earth and Lipu Birdlife Italy have decided to denounce the Lazio Region and to report its non-compliance with EU regulations.

“If we want to be able to successfully farm into the future, we need the public administrations to step in now to stop the area and its biodiversity from degrading irreversibly. If they don’t, intensive farming is going to wreck nature’s ability to provide for communities in the years ahead – and it’s depriving residents of safe drinking water today. That’s why we’re taking action.”

Find out more

Satellite image source: (Public Domain)

natura banner

Life and Natura 2000 now 30 years old

The LIFE Programme and Natura 2000 have reached the age of 30.

On 21 May 1992, the then European Economic Community passed two laws that would forever change the face of nature conservation, the Habitats Directive and the LIFE Regulation, which established the LIFE Programme. The Habitats Directive also established the Europe-wide ecological network of protected areas called Natura 2000.

The LIFE Programme has co-financed conservation actions on more than 6 000 Natura 2000 sites –roughly 20% of the entire network. It has also doubled the size of the marine Natura 2000 network over the past five years. €3 billion has been spent on 1 800 nature and biodiversity projects. LIFE projects have safeguarded some 750 species. Also, LIFE has purchased around 200 000 hectares of land across the EU – this land is protected indefinitely.newsletter-cover

30 years on, Natura 2000 forms the backbone of EU nature conservation policy. It is the world’s largest coordinated network of legally protected areas and covers 18% of the EU’s land area and more than 9% of its sea area. Natura 2000 is vital for the successful implementation of the European Green Deal.

The Natura 2000 Newsletter is published twice a year, provides up to date information on activities, events and initiatives on the EU’s biodiversity policy and the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives.

The newsletter is free and is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Polish both in pdf format and in printed version. Subscribe to the newsletter

UN banner

GEOLAND at the United Nations

GEOLAND Project members participated and presented the project at the Twelfth Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) at t5he UN Headquarters in New York.policy graphic

The twelfth session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) was held from 3 – 5 August 2022.

UN-GGIM, comprises experts designated by the Governments of Member States. It seeks to promote international cooperation in global geospatial information management and provide a forum for coordination and dialogue among Member States, and between Member States and relevant international organisations.

As the relevant inter-governmental body on geospatial information in the United Nations, UN-GGIM reports on all matters relating to geography, geospatial information and related topics to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). unggim-photo

As an NGO with consultative status in the United Nations, GEOLAND project partner EUROGEO participates in debates and discussions related to topics such as environment, data, smart city developments and actions concerning  the Sustainable Development Goals.

The GEOLAND Project is relevant to the work of UN-GGIM as it deals with the concepts, data, tools and technologies concerning the monitoring of landscapes based on the rules of the European Landscape Convention (ELC). As a result the project aims to educate, inform and advise students and their professors concerning the policy implications of undertaking landscape monitoring and assessment. GEOLAND will help students and professors to comprehend the problems that arise from heterogeneous applications of ELC and suggest possible solutions to these issues.unggim-graphic

The GEOLAND project also seeks to reinforce European Policy in landscape conservation as well as national and local actions regarding the implementation of the European Landscape Convention.

GEOLAND will seek to provide essential recommendations for policy makers and maintain a dialogue with relevant stakeholders, open for future development. The GEOLAND methodology employed is eventually expected to constitute a road map for relevant studies not only in Europe but also worldwide.

Explore the EUROGEO presentation introducing international policy dimensions in landscape monitoring and geospatial technologies, from the UN to the Council of Europe.