The worldwide sprawl of cities is one of the prime causes for the loss of
biodiversity. More than half of the world’s population is currently living in
urban areas which occupy only 2 % of earth’s surface but are at the same time
responsible for the use of more than three quarters of all natural resources.
This is a great influence on worldwide biodiversity beyond the geographical
borders of cities and communities.
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communities are using the capacities of ecosystems and natural resources in
many different forms. Accordingly, they are encroaching on the ecological
balance of areas as well. Therefore, they are economically reliant upon the
preservation of biodiversity. Simultaneously, communities and cities often have
– at least in central Europe – a high biological diversity, which means that
there is a great responsibility for the preservation of this biodiversity. At
the same time, proactive actions on biodiversity-protection benefit the quality
of life of citizens.
On the one
hand, communities can influence the general framework of biodiversity promoting
frameworks by using measures and enactments. On the other hand, they have to
comply with legal regulations and can take action for biodiversity measures
beyond that. A strategic and long-term planning is the key for a sustainable
and efficient protection of the local biodiversity. For communities, the EMAS
environmental management system offers an instrument for a continuous improvement
of the own environmental performance. Within the framework of the management
process, however, mainly environmental factors like the consumption of resources
and pollutant emissions are brought into focus. Aspects of biological diversity
are yet represented by the indicator land consumption. Indeed, land consumption
is rated as one of the main reasons for the loss of biological diversity, but
communities can contribute to the preservation of biological diversity with
more than just "reducing land use”. The German Environmental Aid has arranged a Fact Sheet (in German) which especially addresses the degradation of ecosystems, the
overuse of natural resources and invasive species and describes the direct and
indirect scopes of influence a community can take.
|© Stadtverwaltung Bad Saulgau,|