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Soil sealing - a prospect of starvation (for soil bugs) and flooding (for us)

Greenweek 2008During Green Week 2008, Session 3.4 on Wednesday 4th June was dedicated to soil sealing under the title "Soil sealing - a prospect of starvation (for soil bugs) and flooding (for us)". It was moderated by Mr Ladislav Miko, Director in the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission.

The objective of the session was to present and discuss the impact of soil sealing (i.e. covering of the soil surface with an impermeable material for constructing buildings, roads, industries etc) on soil functions and the wider ecosystem. Sealing results in the creation of a horizontal barrier between the soil, air and the water and thus has several severe consequences, such as the disruption of gas, water and energy fluxes, increased flood risks, reduced groundwater recharge, increases water pollution (due to runoff water from housing and traffic areas being normally unfiltered and potentially contaminated with harmful chemicals), and loss in soil and terrestrial biodiversity (due to fragmentation of habitats). Techniques and material exist that allow the construction of needed infrastructure combining it with a minimisation of the negative effects on soil function and a reduction in flooding risk events.

The following presentations are available:



Soil sealing & Urban sprawl in Europe: Bonnie & Clyde…

Mr Jock Martin,
European Environment Agency,
Copenhagen, Denmark

Soil sealing - a prospect of starvation (for soil bugs) and flooding (for us)

Mr Juraj Kohutiar,
People and Water,
Bratislava, Slovakia,

Reduzierung des Flächenverbrauchs in Deutschland - Soil sealing

Prof Dr Siegfried Bauer,
Justus Liebig University,
Giessen, Germany

A brief summary of the discussions can be found on page 6 of the special issue of "Environment for Europeans" dedicated to Green Week 2008.