Land change per region, 2000-2006


Observations for policy

Land use change processes taking place in Europe continue to be predominantly driven by socio-economic development. A wide number of policies within a wide range of policy fields do influence land use change which in turn also affects changes at regional level.

Policy context

Socio-economic development is less and less attributed to land-based production, but constitutes an increasing driver of land use changes. This represents a permanent decline of land-based economic production in agriculture, forestry, or mining, just to name a few. This leads to processes of extensification resulting from the abandonment of former production areas when natural conditions or other constraints limit competitiveness.

In parallel, there is an increase of knowledge-intensive, innovation-driven and service-based economies, but also different attitudes and beliefs in lifestyle. This leads to the intensification of land use changes as it stimulates urban growth and the increase property values.

Map interpretation

The maps shows that 1 per cent of the surface in regions of the EU27+4 have experienced land use  changes between 2000 and 2006. In other words, types and characteristics of land use remained more or less stable.

However there are also regions that experienced a change in the share of land which in some cases amounts to 12,5 per cent of the total surface. Portugal, for instance, has been characterised with high percentages of changes in land use. This is followed by regions in Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, Czech Republic or Cyprus.

To a certain extent it appears that some urban agglomerations experienced a higher share of land change than their surrounding regions. This is particularly striking in capital cities such as Madrid, Dublin or Istanbul. The change in land use seems to be linked to changes in the socio-economic structure, but also due to urbanisation processes such as urban sprawl.

Concepts and methods

The map is based on the analysis of the EEA Corine Land Cover data from 2000 and 2006. The map shows how much of the regional area has experienced a change in land use between those years.