Climate change and spatial planning

Climate change and spatial planning

Landscape and Urban Planning 98 (2010) 139–140 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Landscape and Urban Planning journal homepage: www.elsevier...

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Landscape and Urban Planning 98 (2010) 139–140

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Landscape and Urban Planning journal homepage:


Climate change and spatial planning

The enclosure of climate change (CC) aspects into the theory, modelling and application of spatial planning has recently moved to the forefront of landscape and planning research. The current controversial discussion in the general public as well as in science is offering a first glance on obvious and somehow more hidden aspects of landscape change and CC impacts. This discussion is expected to become one of the major research topics of tomorrow’s landscape ecology. In regard to the input of landscape ecology to spatial planning two important topics can be differentiated. On the one hand information is needed to support planning strategies for climate-induced hazards like extreme weather events and the mitigation of their effects. On the other hand methods and best practice examples are needed to identify general CC signals and adapt to effects of slow changes. In both cases understanding the impacts of CC on ecosystems, landscapes and land uses is an essential basis for well-grounded decisions on adaptation and mitigation strategies and politics at a local and regional scale. Spatial planning is expected to provide the instrumental framework for the implementation of these strategies and measures. Nevertheless, there is a major lack of methods to scale CC effects down to regional and local scale and to project or estimate direct and indirect effects such as loss of biodiversity, flood risks, sea level rise, soil erosion, land slides, droughts, heat waves, permafrost decline, snow coverage decline, forest fires, increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from soils, as well as economic impacts on tourism, water, agriculture and forest production. CC is usually addressed as trigger of various impacts on nature, on landscape and society, but only little emphasis is put on describing spatially explicit strategies and measures to cope with climate change and its effects. A workshop about “Climate Change and Spatial Planning” was held on the Salzburg European IALE Conference in summer 2009. The participants discussed current methods and recent advances in analysing regional CC signals which support the development of tailor made planning strategies to cope with regional and local effects. This special issue of Landscape and Urban planning contains the most interesting contributions to this workshop. They may help to close this gap by providing some insights by either addressing CC impacts or dealing with CC adaptation and mitigation measures in order to avoid or at least reduce negative effects from local to regional scale. The raised issues span a wide range of landscape and spatial planning related aspects coping with CC in the whole of Europe. The contributions do not cover all potential aspects, but highlight certain ones in order to serve as reference that might be copied, extended or modified. This way they may provide assistance in dealing with the climate related disadvantages which occur today and which might occur in the future even more accelerated. 0169-2046/$ – see front matter © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2010.08.012

Target audience of the contributions are practitioners and planners, researchers in the fields of scenario development, assessment models, spatial planning, landscape planning, impact assessment as well as modellers in the fields of ecosystem services and landscape function research or CC research in general. The contributions in this special issue of landscape and urban planning will stimulate the methodological discussion by providing and discussing: (a) the relevant direct and indirect impacts of CC with a special focus on the regional differentiation of its effects, (b) case studies about sensitive and vulnerable landscapes affected, (c) impacts on landscape structure (e.g. biotope types, water bodies, soil and biodiversity) and aspects of landscape functions on landscape or local level as well as (d) modelling, simulation and assessment methods to support spatial planning and decision making at the regional level. The contributions show different maturity on the way from impact assessment to adaptation and mitigation measure development. They raise awareness for different issues ranging from (1) coastal hazards on urbanised regions, (2) the sensitivity of agricultural landscapes, (3) the regionalisation of CC aspects in all German landscape types and on (4) active measures for greenhouse gas mitigation in wetlands. The articles cover alpine regions, coastal zones, plains and wetland areas and thus deal with all the most frequent landscape types in Europe. Some of them focus on certain – smaller and larger – regions, while others address an entire country. Hansen (in this issue) models the future coastal zone urban development in Denmark impacted by CC as implied by the IPCC SRES scenarios. Particularly the coastal zone will be affected by consequences of CC like sea level rise, increased storminess and coastal flooding. In order to mitigate the most severe impacts for the society it is decisive that urban and regional planners address the CC issue in their planning efforts. Using modelling and simulation, the author intends to enhance the understanding of the future land-use systems under influence of a changing climate and accordingly reduce uncertainty concerning the decisions. The contribution describes how to carry out land-use simulations using a multi-criteria land-use modelling framework. Combined with expected future flooding risk due to sea level rise the author performs an impact assessment on future urban development patterns. Finally, Hansen describes how adaptation strategies can facilitate spatial planning measures to counteract the consequences of potential CC.


Editorial / Landscape and Urban Planning 98 (2010) 139–140

Renetzeder et al. (in this issue) raise the question if habitats of Austrian agricultural landscapes are sensitive to CC? They state, that CC is considered as one of the major threats to biodiversity. The aim of their study is the assessment of the potential impact and regional variation of modelled CC on selected Austrian habitats and agricultural landscapes for 20 landscape samples in the region of Upper-Austria. Regression analysis showed that forests, fallow land, field margins and aquatic habitats had the best regression models, the highest sensitivity and also showed rather high naturalness values. It was concluded that more natural habitats will suffer more because of CC. Species loss and turnover can only be mitigated by improving migration possibilities. Consequences for nature conservation planning are discussed. Rannow et al. (in this issue) explore the potential impacts of CC in Germany by identifying regional priorities for adaptation activities in spatial planning. Following the assumption that spatial planning is considered to be one of the main instruments available to govern adaptation to CC and its impacts in a spatial context, the contribution focuses on categories of CC impacts as well as CC exposure and sensitivity for the German planning regions. The authors have elaborated an assessment framework using indicators for exposure to climate stimuli and sensitivity to CC induced impacts. A particular focus is given to a comparable classification of planning regions with regard to the set of indicators. The application of the assessment framework is geared towards a comprehensive evaluation and comparison of the results for the addressed impacts. The framework was applied at the regional level for entire Germany. Indicators derived from public available data sets have been used to assess 11 potential impacts with relevance for spatial planning. The assessment provides new information on the spatial distribution of different potential impacts of CC in Germany. It identifies regions with cumulative impacts as hot spot areas which need urgent spatial planning-related adaptation activities. Mander et al. (in this issue) explore the range of methane (CH4 ) and nitrous oxide (N2 O) fluxes in rural landscapes and specific ecosystems on the basis of a set of references discussing empirical cases. The emissions observed at landscape – and regional level had been compared and the variation within the measures dis-

cussed. The results can be helpful for regional and local authorities to develop effective land use related measures and landscape management practices for the mitigation of GHG emissions from soils and landscape categories. Using emission factors for different land use categories the authors estimated CH4 and N2 O emissions from the most frequent land-use types in the rural landscapes of Estonia. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of the Estonian rural landuse categories due to CH4 and N2 O fluxes has been estimated and several measures to modify the land use have been proposed for achieving reductions of GHG emissions from rural landscapes. Despite the various issues, different challenges and different strategies, two main targets could be observed in all contributions: 1. to provide a impact assessment from a systemic viewpoint, by addressing integrated cause–effect relation chains, 2. to customize adaptation strategies to cope with certain climate change effects at local and regional scale. The policy relevance of the presented research was a clear target in all projects, unless little stakeholder integration did took place. Here, certainly more effort is requested in the future. Burghard C. Meyer ∗ Sven Rannow Dortmund University of Technology, School of Spatial Planning, Chair of Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning, Germany Wolfgang Loibl Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria ∗ Corresponding

author. Tel.: +49 231 755 7499; fax: +49 231 755 4877. E-mail addresses: [email protected] (B.C. Meyer), [email protected] (S. Rannow), [email protected] (W. Loibl) Available online 29 September 2010