Summary: Space is a key natural resource, necessary both for most human activities and for the maintenance of biodiversity. Within the European continent, space is limited and has been subjected to constant human use for thousands of years. At present, it is being ‘consumed’ or fragmented at rapidly increasing rates for land uses associated with conventional development activities (especially urbanisation, tourism facilities, infrastructure networks, intensive agriculture). Space can be protected to maintain it in its natural state, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and other strictly protected areas, or can be intensively urbanised as in city centres of cities. In between these extremes, there are varying degrees of human use of space (as in the rural areas). In view of the limited supply and the increasing demand for space, it has become evident that integrated management of this crucial resource is essential if sustainable development is to be achieved.
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