Land: Europe

The key issues associated with land resources in Europe are land-use planning in relation to agriculture and urban sprawl, and soil degradation due to factors such as contamination and erosion.

Steady population expansion, economic changes and economic growth over the past 30 years have led to competing demands on land for agriculture, forestry, environmental protection and recreation, and for urban and infrastructural development. The average annual rate of land cover change in Western Europe is quite small but at the local level changes can be significant, especially in densely populated areas - 74 per cent of the population of Europe is concentrated in only 15 per cent of its land surface (EEA 1999). At the same time, these areas experience high levels of activity in industry, transport, services and other economic sectors, with concomitant environmental problems.