Welcome to the SGR INTERFASE Team

Research Group on Coastal and Marine Resources, Territories, Landscapes and Migrations

The SGR INTERFASE (Research Group on Coastal and Marine Resources, Territories, Landscapes and Migrations) is formed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers and external collaborators whose core is at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). The activities of the team began in 1992 and it is coordinated by Françoise Breton, researcher of the Department of Geography and ICTA – Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals.


The SGR INTERFASE promotes researches in analysis, planning and integrated management of coastal zones, natural resources and open areas (protected and rural areas, etc.) from the study of socio-environmental changes in space and time and the sustainability of environmental and spatial policies. Since its foundation, the research group develops an intense work of supporting to administrations and stakeholders in the study and integrated assessment of spatial problems in areas of contact or interface between society and environment: analysis and management of coastal and marine zones, socio-environmental problems linked to human activities and processes of land use change, planning and social adaptation to climate change, land and ecosystems accounting, ecosystem services, cooperation networks in regional, trans-statal and cross-border areas, spatial processes of migrations and climate change.

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Gestionant l’exposició al soroll a Europa.

La contaminació acústica representa un alt risc per a la salut humana i mediambiental. Aquesta comunicació presenta les dades actualitzades sobre el nombre de persones exposades a la contaminació acústica ambiental a Europa, així com un nou resum de les mesures que s’utilitzen en els Estats membres per a la gestió del soroll. El trànsit per carretera segueix sent, de llarg, la font més important de soroll ambiental, amb almenys 100 milions de persones exposades a alts nivells de soroll del trànsit que superen els valors referència de molèstia per soroll de la Unió Europea.

Poster Resum Soroll a Europa

Missatges principals:

  • La contaminació acústica continua sent un important problema de salut ambiental a Europa;
  • El trànsit rodat és la principal font de soroll ambiental, s’estima que 100 milions de persones estan afectades per nivells nocius. El soroll dels ferrocarrils, aeroports i la indústria també són fonts importants;
  • Els plans d’acció de gestió del soroll establerts pels Estats membres inclouen una àmplia gamma de mesures per a la millora i recuperació de la qualitat acústica. És a les ciutats on aquestes mesures se centren principalment en la gestió del trànsit per carretera i inclouen la utilització als carrers de paviment sonoreductor, la millora del trànsit i la introducció dels límits de velocitat més baixos;
  • El Programa General d’Acció de la Unió en matèria de Medi Ambient (7EAP) estableix l’objectiu que el 2020 la contaminació acústica a la UE disminueixi considerablement, apropant-se als nivells recomanats per l’Organització Mundial de la Salut (OMS).

Anàlisi de les mesures incloses en els plans d’acció de la Directiva 2002/49/CE per font de soroll i tipologia de mesura.


SSS! Setmana sense soroll, del 24 al 30 d’abril

Interfase UAB col·labora amb la 1a Setmana Sense Soroll.

La 1a Setmana Sense Soroll neix amb la voluntat d’arribar a aglutinar totes aquelles iniciatives promogudes, tant en l’àmbit públic com privat, sota un mateix lema ‘Silenci si us plau’ i uns mateixos objectius, entre els quals cal destacar:

  • Conscienciar a la ciutadania del problema de la contaminació acústica, especialment en l’àmbit urbà, dels seus efectes, i les seves possibles solucions. Fer veure a la ciutadania que n’és part del problema i part de la solució.
  • Treballar amb col·lectius específics, com els centres escolars, on el soroll pot dificultar l’aprenentatge.
  • Donar a conèixer, tant a la ciutadania com a les administracions, noves eines de gestió i control.
  • Impulsar la col·laboració entre administracions, amb diferents responsabilitats i/o competències en la matèria, per optimitzar recursos i poder oferir una solució més ràpida i eficaç.

Land recycling in Europe

The EEA has recently published a report entitled “Land recycling in Europe“, which presents approaches to measuring the extent and impacts of redevelopment and densification of previously developed land.

Chapter 2, ‘The extent of land recycling and densification’, was developed largely under the
ETC/ULS 2015 task ‘Use of Urban Atlas (UA) and Corine Land Cover (CLC) data to calculate land
recycling and densification’, by Roger Milego (UAB), Rastislav Stanik (EEA) and Geertrui Louwagie (EEA).


On average, land recycling has increased in Europe but the levels remain low compared to land take, the report shows. Based on Copernicus satellite data, land recycling as a share of total land consumption across EEA member and cooperating countries (EEA-39) has increased from about 2.0-2.2 % in 1990-2000 to about 2.7-2.9 % in 2006-2012. However, the rates vary considerably across countries.

The report is fully available in PDF following this link.

NILS project – Research stage in the Arctic to study the vulnerability of whales’ species and the whales hunting local communities

Brief Description:

The stage has been done by Dra. Françoise Breton from INTERFASE research group of Geography Department and ICTA institute of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), in collaboration with Dr. Svein Jentoft and MARA research group from the University of Tromsø (UiT – The Arctic University of Norway). Other strong colaborations have been established during the development of research stage with the University of Svalbard (UNIS), and the Svalbard Museum and her Director Tora Hultgreen.

The research stage has allowed to carry out a first approach to the study of vulnerability of whales and the effects to local communities related with the whales’ hunting in the Arctic Region of Norway from a socio-environmental approach (integrating environmental, historical, political and ethnological perspectives).

The research work done in 2015, focuses on whale species vulnerability. Fieldwork methodology on whales ‘perception by local fishermen communities and other relevant stakeholders allows us to discuss traditional whaling, within the artisanal fishery cycle.

This activity is important to sustain local coastal communities inhabiting in extreme cold climate in the Arctic.

During the research it has also present a test to map and model whales’ vulnerability. Both approaches help to understand the place of whales in the Barents Sea. This research focusing on socioecological approach to Minke whale (Balaenoptera acurostrata) in Lofoten islands (Norway) allows to meet a number strong recommendations to the Marine Spatial Plans.


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Acusti.CAT, the first Catalan Congress on Acoustics


With more than 70 speakers, 25 entities highly involved in this topic and more than 200 experts working in the field, Acusti.CAT will be an opportunity to debate, share and understand all the topics related to environmental noise. The Congress is going to be held in Sabadell on 28+29/04/2016.

The initial conference will be given by the European expert Colin Nugent, Project manager for Noise at the European Environment Agency, and 15 challenges and dilemmas will be shared and discussed after that among all the participants. Discussion topics will cover from soundscape in cities of the future and networks of sensors measuring noise and its integration into the smart cities projects, to topics such as the strategic noise maps and action plans as useful management tools to cope with environmental noise and neighbourhood noise evaluation and mediation.

The SGR-Interfase group of the UAB – Geography Department will participate in Acusti.CAT and will discuss the challenge 01 together with other experts in the field.

More information about the congress is available in the following page:http://www.congresacusti.cat/#/inici

European Topic Centre on Urban, Land and Soil Systems (ETC ULS)

The European Topic Centre on Urban, Land and Soil systems, ETC/ULS, is supporting the European Environment Agency (EEA) in supporting monitoring of urban development in Europe, creating seamless European wide spatial reference data and develop and analyse various land related indicators.

Urban areas are home for most of the EU population and driver for economic growth and innovation, but their further sustainable growth represents a challenge both for internal management and planning as well as for the surrounding environment (land, soil, biodiversity).

Urban, land and soil systems is therefore a new strategic line of the EEA MAWP 2014-2018 reflecting an evolution towards a more integrated approach to environmental issues, including societal challenges mirrored on the inclusion of urban areas.

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Pilot project in the Adriatic on testing the candidate common indicator ‘Land use change’ in the Mediterranean within the EcAp framework/EcAp-MED project

Brief Description:

In the overall framework of an EU funded project on the “Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach in the Mediterranean by the Contracting parties in the context of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the coastal region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols” (EcAp-MED project 2012-15), the Pilot project in the Adriatic aims, following up on the CORMON outcomes, to test the applicability of the land-use change candidate common indicator, though a sub-regional pilot.

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Noise activities

Interfase-UAB, inside the ETC/ACM consortium, is responsible for the provision of support to EEA, the Member States and the EEA member countries on the environmental noise field: mainly supporting the collection and quality checking of noise data, assessing it and disseminating the main figures at European and country level.

The Environmental Noise Directive (END) entered into force in 2002, and based on the information compiled since that date, the first noise assessment report at EU level was developed and published together with the EEA, in December 2014.

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European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM)

The European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM) is a consortium of 14 partner organisations in 10 European countries that supports the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen.

The main task of ETC/ACM is to assist EEA in supporting EU environmental policy and legislative frameworks and to allow for adequate responses to emerging needs. Such support involves improving the reporting of monitoring and inventory data, information dissemination, and integrated assessments. To this end ETC/ACM analyses in a balanced way the causality chain of environmental policy making: Driving forces, Pressures, State, Impacts and Responses (DPSIR).

The ETC/ACM activities focus on following main policy processes and frameworks:

  • Climate change mitigation and energy pollution (with reference to EU’s Climate Action)
  • Air pollution, transport and noise
  • Industrial pollution

More information about the ETC/ACM can be found in: http://acm.eionet.europa.eu/about_etcacc

Interfase-UAB  is one of the 14 partner organizations, and it is responsible of the provision of support to EEA, the Member States and the EEA member countries under the Eionet network and collaborating countries on the environmental noise field.

The main tasks consist in supporting the collection of noise data reported under the Environmental Noise Directive (END) and its quality checking for further assessment and dissemination.

New contract between EEA and ETC/ACM Consortium


The European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM) and the European Environment Agency (EEA) negotiated the third yearly contract to start in January 2016.

The SGR-Interfase team leads the tasks related to environmental noise in the ETC/ACM Consortium.

The main tasks to be accomplished in 2016 are focused on the management and quality check and quality control of the noise data delivered by the EEA Member States in compliance with the information required by the Environmental Noise Directive (END) and its publication in a new noise viewer that will be available at the end of the year.

The second main focus of the work being developed by the SGR-Interfase team is the assessment at European level of all the available information related to environmental noise, in order to evaluate the state-of-the-art at European level and assess potential improvements from the current situaion to the upcoming future. This part is mainly going to be achieved by the update of the yearly indicators on environmental noise at EEA level and the assessment reports developed every two years on this topic by the EEA, which includes other aspects such as noise management, noise action plans or health impact assessment due to noise exposure.

New topics that are going to be addressed in 2016 are focused on estimating the population living outside the areas covered by the END that could be potentially exposed to high levels of noise and also on methodologies to forecast noise exposure by 2020, 2030 or 2050.