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Assessing climate change effects on land use and ecosystems: from regional analysis to the european scale

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Farmland versus sustainability

Across the globe there is often conflict between the development of farmland and the preservation of natural ecosystems. Objective studies are needed to address the proper balance between these two imperatives in order to ensure future sustainability.

Climate Change and Environment

The impact of farmland development on ecosystems and the environment at large is a vital undertaking as far as gathering scientific information is concerned. However, as results come in, a disturbing trend is being shown globally; farmland used irresponsibly has a large detrimental impact on ecosystems. Stripping massive areas of forestation, burning vast regions of natural biomass and the fragmentation of natural habitats have all clearly, undermined the stability of both flora and fauna in many agricultural regions. So much so in fact, that the delicate balance of many ecosystems are threatened with collapse. QUILT is an EC funded project based on an earlier project (ACCELERATES) that sought to identify the relationship between agricultural land use and the impact on the environment. It assessed the changing environmental conditions as well as the rates and processes that land-use change would have. However, since it understood that the demand for agricultural systems was growing, QUILT attempted to identify incentives and motives for encouraging them to preserve nature. Part of the study looked at such incentives as the reduction of emissions and pollutants, the establishment of ponds and wetlands and the planting of hedges and forests. However, while such incentive activities already exist, part of the QUILT project identified that they benefit only local regions but remain, in all, insufficient to protect natural habitats. Clearly this finding indicates the imperative need for policy amendments to better preserve natural habitats in the growing demand for agricultural areas. While projects like QUIILT have identified the critical threats and the extent of change on natural habitats, it has not yet found viable solutions. As such, the QUILT project requires collaborative efforts that will encourage further research and development, information exchange and consultancy.

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