Less pavement, more biodiversity and ecosystem services

“Next to limiting urban biodiversity many ecosystem services are decreased by sealing urban surfaces. Petrification enhances the urban heat island effect which has a negative effect on people’s health. Sealing surfaces also has a negative effect on air quality eg. when it comes to fine dust. The absence of greenery has a negative effect on health, recovery and human well-being. And, of course, application of pavement reduces the permeability of the soil. The accelerated drainage of rainwater leads to overloading of the sewer system”, states the Steenbreek Foundation.

The Steenbreek Foundation (‘breaking the stone’) is greening the environment together with municipalities, water boards and provinces by e.g. replacing unnecessary pavement in private and public space with a diversity of greenery by involving residents and entrepreneurs. Also, extra ponds and wadis are constructed with as a result water can enter the ground more easily.

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Operation Steenbreek was established in 2015 to act against the trend to harden private gardens by four city ecologists joining forces together with Entente Florale Nederland, the University of Groningen, Wageningen Environmental Research and Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. Prominent events are the National Garden Week, Soil Animal Days, Nature Work Day, National Green Day and various Knowledge Meetings in collaboration with Elba | REC. Image (c) rijswijk.tv 2017