10 messages for 2010 - Urban ecosystems

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Courtesy of European Environment Agency (EEA)

Key messages

  • In Europe, where the overwhelming majority of people live in urban areas, tackling the interlinked challenges between biodiversity and its network of towns and cities is crucial to help halting biodiversity loss.
  • Urbanisation can be an opportunity or a threat for biodiversity. Seizing the opportunity demands that we mix high quality urban green areas with dense and compact built up zones.
  • Quality of life in cities depends on the existence of sufficient attractive urban green areas for people and wildlife to thrive. But equally important for urban life are the ecosystem services delivered by biodiversity in green areas outside city boundaries.
  • Although biodiversity and ecosystem services are global common goods, local and regional authorities have the legal power to designate conservation areas and to integrate biodiversity concerns into their urban and spatial planning. Public commitment is apparent in the numerous participatory Local Agenda 21 processes aimed at building sustainable communities that identify biodiversity as a precondition for resilient cities.
  • Besides protecting areas, it is essential to integrate biodiversity into spatial planning at regional and local levels, including cities. Developing the European Green Infrastructure concept presents an opportunity to do this.

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