Description: Invited lecture organized in the frame of a webinar organized by the Policy Committee of the European Section of the Society for Conservation Biology in 26/1/2021. Two recent papers published for Greece were used to illustrate the webinar topics (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108828 and https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144471). Pdf and vimeo video available in English.
The goal of the webinar was : (A) to present the road sprawl and subsequent fragmentation problem at global and European scale, as roadless areas conservation is a long-term initiative of PC SCB-Europe. (B) to present the topical nexus of biodiversity loss and land use change stemming from Renewable Energy Sources, such as windfarm infrastructures, rapidly developing in the EU under the European Green Deal. (C) To present the relevant legislative and policy frame at global and EU scale and discuss the perspectives of integrating the webinar messages into the EU policy and legal frame. The webinar was not open to the public, but under invitation of key EU experts and policymakers. The two main messages of the webinar were: Message 1: Restrain road sprawl and land take in natural ecosystems in legally binding terms. Message 2: Better integrate biodiversity in climate policies: prioritize RES in least ecologically valuable zones. The following points were presented as questions/ points to consider for discussion by scientists and policymakers.
- Roadless areas should be integrated in the forthcoming European guideline as a criterion to set up ecological corridors expanding the network of protected areas (30% target), so as to increase the coherence of Natura 2000 and as a criterion to define and designating the strictly protected zones (10% target). [Biodiversity Strategy: EU Nature protection: key commitments by 2030]
- Roadless areas should be included in the legally binding targets of ecosystem restoration in the forthcoming regulation, as It is equally important to actively restore degraded and carbon-rich ecosystems (active restoration) and to proactively maintain intact ecosystems (proactive restoration) for no need to restore in the future (cost –effective). Proactive restoration could be more beneficial for countries with large tracks of nature remained, mostly in Scandinavia, eastern Europe and parts of the Mediterranean. Member States should have the liberty to take restoration actions according to their specific needs, including road removal. [Biodiversity Strategy: EU Nature restoration plan: key commitments by 2030]
- The “no net land take by 2050” milestone should be legally binding in the frame of Art. 10 92/43/EEC and the Landscape Convention should be reinforced for actual landscape protection, management and planning.
- Minimum land take should be integrated in the forthcoming regulation review of land use, land use change and forestry and road sprawl monitoring and roadless areas conservation should be considered in the 8th Environment Action Programme
- SEAs, EIAs, AAs, or subsidizing regulations could be better implemented to reduce the impact of land-consuming projects
- Landscape Fragmentation Indicator (LFI) and Roadless Fragmentation Indicator (RFI) could serve as new tools for monitoring and policy-making in the above frame.
- The EU could undertake an initiative of suggesting roadless areas as a distinct target in post-Aichi biodiversity strategy targets.