Category Archives: publication

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EU Biodiversity Strategy and Landscape

The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and its Path to a Thriving Planet

In the face of mounting environmental challenges, the European Union (EU) has embarked on a visionary journey to safeguard our planet’s rich tapestry of life.

The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 stands as a clarion call, urging us to unite in protecting, restoring, and celebrating the wonders of nature. This holistic strategy encompasses four pillars, each weaving together a unique thread that holds the promise of a more sustainable and harmonious future. Let us embark on an expedition through the pillars of this strategy, discovering the steps that will guide us towards a world where nature thrives.biodiversity pillars

The first pillar of the strategy emphasises the expansion of protected areas, aiming to encompass 30% of the EU’s land and sea. This commitment involves preserving these areas from harm and ensuring the conservation of their delicate ecosystems for generations to come. Additionally, a third of these protected areas will receive the highest level of defense, enabling nature to flourish undisturbed within their boundaries. This demonstrates a deep understanding of the inherent value of biodiversity and the importance of safeguarding our planet’s most vulnerable spaces.

Acknowledging the interconnectedness of all ecosystems, the EU’s second pillar focuses on restoring nature and promoting sustainable practices across various sectors. This multifaceted approach aims to heal the damage inflicted on our natural landscapes, ranging from expansive forests to fragile wetlands. It recognises that the well-being of our planet is intricately linked to our own, and sustainable land and resource management are pivotal in preserving both.

The third pillar of the strategy goes all out to strengthen the EU’s biodiversity governance, knowledge, research, financing, and investments. This commitment ensures that we have everything we need to bring about meaningful change. It’s a rallying cry for governments, institutions, and individuals to fully embrace their roles as guardians of biodiversity and actively drive the kind of impactful transformation our planet needs.

Recognising that biodiversity knows no borders, the EU extends its reach beyond its own territories.

The fourth pillar of the strategy focuses on leveraging EU external actions to raise global ambitions for biodiversity. Through partnerships with nations worldwide, the EU aims to minimize the impact of trade on biodiversity and provide support for conservation efforts beyond European borders. This collective endeavor reflects a commitment to shared responsibility and the understanding that protecting biodiversity is a global mission that transcends geographical deal

As we traverse the four pillars of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, we witness a collective commitment to nurturing our planet’s ecological harmony. This unique strategy envisions a world where protected areas thrive, nature is restored, transformative change is embraced, and global partnerships are forged. It is a testament to the EU’s determination to safeguard the symphony of life that resounds in every corner of our planet.

To find out more about the Biodiversity strategy for 2030 visit:

Data and maps

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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

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World Heritage Convention timeline

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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.


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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.


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Land Cover Datasets Book now available

A new book supporting the landscape work of teachers, students and researchers has beendatasets book cover image published by Springer. The publication is freely available for download as a pdf or as an EPUB.

The book “Land Use Cover Datasets and Validation Tools Validation Practices with QGIS” develops concepts on land use data and provides lessons using the open source QGIS software.

QGIS is a free and open-source cross-platform desktop geographic information system application that supports viewing, editing, printing, and analysis of geospatial data.

According to the publishers, this represents an up-to-date comprehensive review of theory and techniques to validate land-use cover information. It provides detailed tutorials to easily apply most of the available validation techniques in open access GIS software, shows detailed review of Land Use Cover data currently available at global and continental scales and is freely available to all readers, as this book is open access.

The book editors are David García-Álvarez, María Teresa Camacho Olmedo, Martin Paegelow and Jean François Mas.

Further details and download options are available at