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European Environment Initiative (EURENI)

Funding Call
Two young people in front of a mountain panorama hold an EU flag

Saving land resources – for a trend reversal in the use of land in peri-urban areas


CIPRA International



2021-07-01 till 2022-05-31


Europe-wide focussing on the Alpine region

Funding Amount

89,889.00 €

Our life on earth depends on healthy soils which provide us with food, clean water and living areas.

Project background

Our life on earth depends on healthy soils. Soils are living systems, the interactions of which ensure our well-being and that of the earth. They provide us with food, clean water and living areas. Healthy soils are the key to climate mitigation and adaptation, the conservation of biological diversity and the protection of recreation areas. Every day, we lose considerable amounts of healthy soils, much of which is attributable to the use and improper management of land by mankind.

Various solutions and strategies are currently being developed for the protection and upgrading of soils from the EU to the regional level. Political decision-makers at various levels have now also recognised the urgency of the problem. As a result, soil consumption in Germany, for instance, is to be reduced to less than 30 hectares per day by 2030 and the transition to a circular economy (net zero target) is to be achieved by 2050. Austria aims to reduce soil consumption from the current 13 hectares/day to 2.5 hectares/day by 2030. Since space is limited, it is essential to create a balance between the (partly new or changed) uses and space requirements, which also compete with each other, in a fair and sparing way and to avoid possible negative impacts on the environment, society and the economy.

However, what is still missing for this purpose is the implementation of scientific findings in practice and the publication of successful practical examples. These are particularly sought-after in peri-urban areas, as space requirements and competing uses are currently escalating in many European countries. The main conflicts are settlement and transport development (housing, commercial areas and transport areas), renewable energies (particularly wind and solar energy, hydropower) versus agriculture and forestry, open spaces and ecology. Given this background, the project also deliberately aims to address the topic of "unsealing".

Project goals and measures

This is exactly where this project comes in with measures for facilitating knowledge transfer and increasing awareness. Administrations from local to EU level, experts and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are addressed so that these actors can include sustainable soil management in their agendas and plan specific projects. For this purpose, scientific findings and best practice examples are assessed and brought together, and the above-mentioned actors are given appropriate tools for the implementation and application of these findings.

The EU report "Caring for Soils is Caring for Life" sets the goal that, by 2030, at least 75 per cent of soils in each EU country must be healthy or at least show significant improvement in order to achieve the threshold values of the indicators that protect ecosystem activities. The project measures are intended to contribute to this goal and create conditions to successfully minimise soil consumption, increase the unsealing of land and resolve land use conflicts.