Despite the release of this report, as well as other policy-oriented documents, tackling land degradation is still a challenge for spatial planners, land system scientists, and policymakers [7,29].From the Commission’s proposed measures, we underline in this paper those recommendations that are more related to spatial planning.The paper concludes by sketching future research directions, intended to support strategic spatial planning and land-use policymaking related to coping with the global phenomenon of land degradation. Their ultimate outcome, however, is generally the same: the acquisition of natural resources for human needs, often at the expense of degraded environmental conditions, and thus increased pressure on land, soils, and water resources [1,2].
Land degradation is becoming a serious environmental issue threatening fertile agricultural soils and other natural resources.
There are many driving forces behind land degradation.
In this regard, strategic spatial planning has been increasingly practised in many urban regions worldwide, as a means to achieve sustainable land-use patterns and to guide the location of development and physical infrastructures.
It is reasonable, therefore, to expect that strategic spatial planning can counteract the outlined undesired land degradation effects, specifically those resulting from soil sealing.
This is in line with Salvati et al., who argue that the increase in impervious areas can be considered a suitable indicator of land degradation . In 20, the EC published two reports on the most effective mechanisms to limit, mitigate, or compensate for soil sealing [20,27].
In 2014, a study assessing the feasibility of setting up a framework for measuring progress towards a more sustainable use of land was released .
As this paper demonstrates, the Philippines is undergoing much environmental degradation—mainly in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, disruption of hydrological systems, over-exploitation of fisheries, destruction of coral reefs, and extinction of species.
These problems are accentuated by the pressures of a large, fast-growing and impoverished population; and they may shortly start to be aggravated yet more by climatic change in the wake of the global ‘greenhouse effect’.
Bearing in mind this set of initiatives at the European policy level, one could expect that strategic spatial planning would be an effective approach to terminate and reverse the outlined undesired land degradation processes, especially those resulting from urbanization and the consequent sealing of soils.
Since the 1990s, strategic spatial planning has been increasingly undertaken at the urban-regional level.