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This is in line with Salvati et al., who argue that the increase in impervious areas can be considered a suitable indicator of land degradation . In 20, the EC published two reports on the most effective mechanisms to limit, mitigate, or compensate for soil sealing [20,27].In 2014, a study assessing the feasibility of setting up a framework for measuring progress towards a more sustainable use of land was released .
Bearing in mind this set of initiatives at the European policy level, one could expect that strategic spatial planning would be an effective approach to terminate and reverse the outlined undesired land degradation processes, especially those resulting from urbanization and the consequent sealing of soils.
Since the 1990s, strategic spatial planning has been increasingly undertaken at the urban-regional level.
In these reports, spatial planning is presented as a means to achieve a more sustainable use of land.
This is because spatial planning mechanisms are thought to take into account the quality and characteristics of different land areas and soil functions, and balance them against competing objectives and private interests, such as those of urban developers . highlight that sound spatial planning, capable of maintaining the non-economical functions of soil, would ensure the maintenance of soil functions ; similarly, Tobias reasons that spatial planning can compensate for soil sealing, thus helping to preserve ecosystem services .
The spatial planning acts of some Austrian federal states are also given as examples, because they allow for the identification and delineation of priority fertile agricultural soils and protected green areas.
Soil protection and land degradation reduction are not explicitly mentioned as goals in the Austrian planning acts; they are, however, implicitly covered by the various roles soils fulfil in ecosystem functioning [20,27].
Land degradation is becoming a serious environmental issue threatening fertile agricultural soils and other natural resources.
There are many driving forces behind land degradation.
Moreover, and as this paper further makes plain, the environmental degradation leads to adverse economic consequences that are pervasive and profound—as may be expected in a country where several salient sectors of development are dependent upon the natural-resource base.
In the long run, indeed, environmental degradation could well preclude the Philippines' prospects for sustainable development.