Land conversion (in total area and in %) in wetlands of international importance in the Euro-Mediterranean countries between 1990 and 2006..
How to interpret the graph: In Portugal for instance, 4.646 ha were converted to agricultural or urban lands in the IBA wetland area (= wetland itself + a buffer of 1km-radius) between 1990 and 2006. This corresponds to 2.3% of the total IBA wetland area of this country. Of this, 2.069 ha were converted to urban lands (1%) and 2.577 ha to agricultural lands (1.3%).
Between 1990 and 2006, land conversion to urban and agricultural areas has been going on in and around the main European Mediterranean wetlands.
Spain underwent the most important changes, followed by France, Portugal and Italy. Both urbanisation and agricultural development operated.
For both types of conversion, higher rates were observed in EU countries than in the Balkans (when data available), both in % and in surface areas. Generally, the national averages are driven by changes in a few severely impacted sites.
In the Southern and Eastern countries, no quantitative data is available yet on land use change. Nevertheless, the growth of urban population is even more rapid in the South and the East where urban sprawl impacts natural and semi-natural habitats.