Nature Balance 2007
The landscapes and nature conservation areas of national and international importance in the Netherlands are becoming more fragmented. This is not yet being prevented through current policies. Especially the value of National Landscapes is being weakened by scattered built developments.The nature conservation areas remain so fragmented that the Netherlands will be unable to meet its international obligations on biodiversity conservation – even when the National Ecological Network (NEN) has been completed. This would be possible, though, if the NEN was constructed differently, with more large contiguous areas.
Nature Balance 2007: main conclusions
- Three-quarters of the Dutch population relate to ‘nature’ in some way or other, and are prepared to pay a bit more towards conserving it.
- Integrated planning is needed to prevent conflicting interests and disjointed policy from dominating regional spatial development. The provincial councils play a crucial role. These are the main conclusions from three case studies described in the Nature Balance.
- The number of wind turbines in the Netherlands continues to rise. In 2006 there were about 1800. How much disruption they cause to the landscape is unknown. The provincial and local authorities have all developed their own rules and criteria for selecting sites and assessing applications for wind turbines.
- It is unlikely that the loss of biodiversity will be halted by 2010 because environmental, water and land use conditions will have to be put right first. The key to this lies in the creation of large contiguous ecosystems.
- The National Landscapes were introduced by central government to improve landscape quality. It is doubtful whether this can be achieved because the boundaries have been drawn to exclude the main urban centres and planned developments, which are therefore not subject to the restrictive policies. Provincial and local authorities are also slow to revise their regional and local plans.
- The government is working hard to make nature more accessible to walkers and cyclists, but policy objectives will probably not be met. There is not enough green space and it is poorly accessible.
- Buildings and infrastructure are fragmenting the landscape. The open countryside is coming under increasing pressure from new housing developments, business parks, greenhouse complexes, roads and railway lines.
- The loss of biodiversity has not yet been stopped. A growing number of species of breeding birds and butterflies are under threat. The main reason for this is that environmental conditions have not yet been restored to the required state.
- Evironmental education helps to build a positive attitude towards nature. It is also highly valued, but some local authorities are unable to maintain the necessary level of funding.
- The climate is warming and the weather is becoming more extreme. This poses a threat to ecosystems and species. Warming and altered precipitation patterns caused by climate change have consequences for the presence of plant and animal species.
|Author(s)||MNP Egmond P van ; Vonk M (eds)|