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Article

Urbanisation of Protected Areas within the European Union—An Analysis of UNESCO Biospheres and the Need for New Strategies

1
School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
2
Parks and Landscape Services, Dublin City Council, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, Ireland
3
School of Archaeology, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
4
Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
5
School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5899; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215899
Received: 2 August 2019 / Revised: 6 October 2019 / Accepted: 16 October 2019 / Published: 24 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sprawl and Sustainability)
The UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BRs) comprise core conservation areas supported by a buffer and transition zone of sustainable development. This zoning can help manage urbanisation around conservation areas. Although it is UNESCO policy to measure the number of BRs that have interactions with urban areas, there has been no systematic assessment of urban biospheres since 2008. This research addresses this deficit by measuring the extent of urbanisation of all designated BRs within the European Union (EU). Using the Copernicus Urban Atlas, the proximity of BRs to Functional Urban Areas (FUA) was determined. The results show that 46% (76/167) of BRs are situated within FUAs, including 11% (18/167) entirely within an FUA. The majority (64%) of EU-28 countries have BRs within FUAs. Urban influences on EU-28 BRs are extensive, as 90% are found within 50 km of an FUA. However, integration with urban areas may be lacking as 14% of EU BRs were adjacent to an FUA. Urban pressures are acute for 11% of EU BRs which had multiple FUAs within a 50 km radius. Therefore, urbanisation of BRs is a widespread challenge and recommendations are provided for BRs to function as an information sharing network and develop a new urban strategy. View Full-Text
Keywords: urbanisation; protected areas; UNESCO biosphere reserve; urban ecosystems; Urban Atlas; ecological networks; biodiversity; proximity; European Union; Functional Urban Area urbanisation; protected areas; UNESCO biosphere reserve; urban ecosystems; Urban Atlas; ecological networks; biodiversity; proximity; European Union; Functional Urban Area
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MDPI and ACS Style

Harris, M.; Cave, C.; Foley, K.; Bolger, T.; Hochstrasser, T. Urbanisation of Protected Areas within the European Union—An Analysis of UNESCO Biospheres and the Need for New Strategies. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5899. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215899

AMA Style

Harris M, Cave C, Foley K, Bolger T, Hochstrasser T. Urbanisation of Protected Areas within the European Union—An Analysis of UNESCO Biospheres and the Need for New Strategies. Sustainability. 2019; 11(21):5899. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215899

Chicago/Turabian Style

Harris, Maryann, Claire Cave, Karen Foley, Thomas Bolger, and Tamara Hochstrasser. 2019. "Urbanisation of Protected Areas within the European Union—An Analysis of UNESCO Biospheres and the Need for New Strategies" Sustainability 11, no. 21: 5899. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215899

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