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Greening Europe

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Why is the project important?

The threat of biodiversity loss has been recognised throughout Europe for many years, and numerous initiatives have been launched to integrate biodiversity conservation into other sectors. However, progress is not sufficient, especially at the local and regional levels where the implementation challenge is the greatest.

The most important challenge in terms of biodiversity conservation in Europe is to reconcile the natural environment with various types of land use. The Natura 2000 framework has established a representative system of protected areas in the EU27 that protects the most valuable species and habitats. Nevertheless, many challenges remain:

  • Much of the biodiversity outside Natura 2000 sites is subject to less strict or no formal protection.
  • The conservation of biodiversity in the long term requires the maintenance of ecosystem functions over wide areas.
  • Climate change will lead to shifts in species populations, but the locations of existing protected areas are fixed.

The most innovative approaches are being developed at regional and local levels. These efforts have built up valuable experience in the development and application of the green infrastructure approach by local and regional authorities, particularly with respect to methodologies, process management, policy development and implementation in a range of settings, from largely natural areas to regions characterised by agriculture or urban development. Some of the partners in the Green Infrastructure Network are pioneers in the use of green infrastructure approaches, methodologies, policies and implementation programmes (Flevoland, Barcelona, Fingal, Emilia-Romagna and Valencia). An introduction to the partners can be found here.

© The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe