Interfase-UAB team has participated in the ESPON seminar ‘Transforming Territorial Thinking Through Digitalisation”

Interfase-UAB team has participated in the ESPON seminar focused on ‘Transforming Territorial Thinking Through Digitalisation”, representing two ongoing projects: ESPON 2020 Database Portal and ESPON GRETA. The seminar was held on the 6th and 7th of December in Tallinn, and was organised in cooperation with the Estonian Presidency of the European Union in the framework of the ESPON2020 Cooperation programme.

The seminar was a meeting point for policy-makers, stakeholders, practitioners, scientists and other experts who provided new insights and discussions on territorial evidence in policy-making addressing key topics  regarding demographic development, labour market, economic diversification and resilience, urban-rural linkages, governance and strategy building, territorial cooperation, spatial planning and governance. The seminar started with an open discussion on the Territorial development in the digital era with Paul Timmers, Anna Piperal, Jonas Onland and Martin Brynskov as panelists. Several questions raised like:

  • Which  mechanisms will work for everyone to facilitate the digital transition? Are there global standards applicable at any place?
  • Is the combination of front-runners and capacity-building a solution? Should this be the basis for the cohesion foundations?
  • Is digitalisation part of the solution? We don’t have the right policies yet for digital transition, we need the instruments. This requires proactive policies and a new public governance to provide opportunities to co-create. We need to build networks that favour cascading capabilities.

Hy Dao (University of Geneva)

Later, Hy Dao (lead partner from the University of Geneve) had the chance to present the ESPON 2020 Database Portal which aims to provide data and the structure that can be used by ESPON projects but also by other end-users. The main idea is to provide relevant and accessible data produced by ESPON projects or used in the building of indicators.



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In the afternoon, the new ESPON Applied Research  projects were briefly introduced. Here, Gemma García-Blanco (from project leader Tecnalia) presented the  general overview of ESPON GRETA‘s approach to address the key policy questions.

Roughly, GRETA aims to develop a comprehensive knowledge base for enhancing green infrastructure to benefit territorial development in different types of European regions and cities.


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Key policies addressed by GRETA

Key policy questions

We also had time for meeting partners of ongoing projects and to exchange experiences, especially those based on developing evidence-based policy recommendations.

It was nice and inspiring meeting new and already well-known faces!

Europe is losing seasonal sea ice faster than perennial

Walruses, belugas and narwhals are the most affected marine mammal species

Credit: National Geographic 1) Sergey Gorshkov, 2) Nansen Weber, 3) and 7) Paul Nicklen, 4) Florian Schulz, 5) Kaido Haagen, 8) Brian Skerry; IUCN 6) Morten Joergensen; 9) IFAW.

According to the preliminary results of an ongoing research where Joan Parera and Raquel Ubach are developing a new indicator for monitoring sea ice extent, seasonal sea ice is declining faster than perennial Parera proposes to adapt the IceMap250 algorithm to European sea regions. The use of MODIS optical and infrared imagery allows sea ice extent mapping at a higher resolution (250 m at nadir) than that of the commonly used satellite data, thus enabling a finer vulnerability mapping in the European sea regions to determine where conservation measures should be prioritized.

The continued loss of sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere due to global warming poses a threat on biota and human activities, evidencing the necessity of efficient sea ice monitoring tools. To prove the indicator’s utility and applicability, a vulnerability assessment has been carried out for nine sea ice associated marine mammal species, following the cumulative impact mapping methodology. Same preliminary results rank species vulnerability, being walruses, belugas and narwhals the most affected by the loss of sea ice.

Impact has been found to be larger north of Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, and in the central Barents Sea, highlighting the need for conservation measures in these areas.

Key messages from the preliminary results

1) Seasonal sea ice is declining faster than perennial sea ice in the European sea regions. Perennial sea ice refers to the extent of the ice cover which is stable all year long, i.e. the minimum extent (September), while seasonal sea ice is the variable portion of the ice cover, i.e. the difference between the maximum extent (March) and the minimum. Contrary to the observed tendencies, sea ice in the whole Northern Hemisphere is declining faster in September.

 2) walruses, belugas and narwhals are the most affected by the loss of sea ice FROM the nine analysed marine mammal species. The impact caused by this loss is especially severe in the northern coast of Svalbard and the central Barents Sea.

 3) A new map synthesis approach has allowed the minimization of classification errors and the effects of atmospheric conditions. Together with other changes concerning the classification method, the modified algorithm has achieved systematically better total accuracies than the original IceMap250.

Flows

CumulativeImpact_MapSeaIce_PresenceLikelihood_Map

Land recycling in Europe

The EEA has recently published a report entitled “Land recycling in Europe“, which presents approaches to measuring the extent and impacts of redevelopment and densification of previously developed land.

Chapter 2, ‘The extent of land recycling and densification’, was developed largely under the
ETC/ULS 2015 task 1.8.2.8 ‘Use of Urban Atlas (UA) and Corine Land Cover (CLC) data to calculate land
recycling and densification’, by Roger Milego (UAB), Rastislav Stanik (EEA) and Geertrui Louwagie (EEA).

Land_recycling

On average, land recycling has increased in Europe but the levels remain low compared to land take, the report shows. Based on Copernicus satellite data, land recycling as a share of total land consumption across EEA member and cooperating countries (EEA-39) has increased from about 2.0-2.2 % in 1990-2000 to about 2.7-2.9 % in 2006-2012. However, the rates vary considerably across countries.

The report is fully available in PDF following this link.

NILS project – Research stage in the Arctic to study the vulnerability of whales’ species and the whales hunting local communities

Brief Description:

The stage has been done by Dra. Françoise Breton from INTERFASE research group of Geography Department and ICTA institute of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), in collaboration with Dr. Svein Jentoft and MARA research group from the University of Tromsø (UiT – The Arctic University of Norway). Other strong colaborations have been established during the development of research stage with the University of Svalbard (UNIS), and the Svalbard Museum and her Director Tora Hultgreen.

The research stage has allowed to carry out a first approach to the study of vulnerability of whales and the effects to local communities related with the whales’ hunting in the Arctic Region of Norway from a socio-environmental approach (integrating environmental, historical, political and ethnological perspectives).

The research work done in 2015, focuses on whale species vulnerability. Fieldwork methodology on whales ‘perception by local fishermen communities and other relevant stakeholders allows us to discuss traditional whaling, within the artisanal fishery cycle.

This activity is important to sustain local coastal communities inhabiting in extreme cold climate in the Arctic.

During the research it has also present a test to map and model whales’ vulnerability. Both approaches help to understand the place of whales in the Barents Sea. This research focusing on socioecological approach to Minke whale (Balaenoptera acurostrata) in Lofoten islands (Norway) allows to meet a number strong recommendations to the Marine Spatial Plans.

BarentsSeaMap

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EAGLE – Harmonising European Land Monitoring

The EAGLE group (Eionet Action Group on Land monitoring in Europe) was set up in 2009 by members of EIONET NRCs on land cover as a response to the growing need to discuss solutions for a better integration and harmonization of national mapping activities with European land monitoring initiatives (i.e. CLC) at technical level, independently from any political or industry preferences, following the concept of a bottom-up approach.

The EAGLE concept …

  • can be a useful framework for the integration of LC / LU information from various data sets in one single data model.
  • is applicable on both national and EU level.
  • is a vehicle for comparison and semantic translation between different LC/LU nomenclatures, and facilitates data exchange.
  • is open to be implemented as a LC / LU data collection standard for national land monitoring initiatives.
  • can be a coherent common data framework for several single GMES products (CLC, HRLs, Urban Atlas).