Field: Dissemination of information, Sustainable living
Global Technical function: Managing
Technical Function Unit: Data analysing, Networking, Software tool, Strategic planning
Geographic Area: Germany


“Sustainability Impact Assessment: Tools for Environmental, Social Multifunctional Land Use in European Regions” (SENSOR) has tackled a problem of international relevance and importance: how to predict and evaluate the consequences of policy changes that will affect a range of land use sectors. The major challenges related to
sustainable living achievement have been addressed in the framework of the project. The related requirements have been fulfilled by developing a new software tool and a strategic planning activity that bring together scientific and conceptual issues as well as data analysing, managing and modelling approaches.

The overarching goal is to assess sustainability while considering a multisectorial use of lands (i.e. not only agricultural use but also use related to a wide variety of sectors). Moreover, a high number of lands have been analysed: 80% of Europe, Malta, China and South America regions. Dissemination of information has also been considered as relevant for transferring the outcomes.

To achieve this high impact initiative, the consortium included 33 partner institutions from 15 European countries and 6 partner institutes from China and South America for research and networking activities. This consortium was characterized by the wide range of realms that were necessary to fulfil the project’s requirements, including expertise in economics, environmental resources, biodiversity, landscape sciences, agriculture and forestry, rural development, transport and energy infrastructure, tourism and demography. The coordinator of the project was the LeibnizCentre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), headquartered in Germany. The project was supported by the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6 Integrated Project) and lasted from December 2004 to May 2009 (54 months).

A major outcome of the project was SIAT (Sustainability Impact Assessment Tool) that was a quantitative multimodelling tool providing prospective scenario assessment over disciplines, sectors and sustainability dimensions, including Eco-innovation & Eco-efficiency new indicators setting. Furthermore, it comprised the valuation of simulated environmental, social and economic effects in terms of sustainability impacts. SENSOR Tools for Impact Assessment Booklet is a key document that has gathered the main results of the project.

Simulations for ex-ante impact assessment can be carried out for the target year 2025 covering 574 European regions of the EU 27. Each simulation computes 87 impact indicators and 9 Land Use Functions (LUFs) that illustrate the policy impact on social, economic and environmental goods and services at both national and regional level. A study developed an
analytical framework for ex ante impact assessment of policies affecting land use  alongside the project.

.SIAT is free of charge and can be used to make choices regarding policy options and target setting, to illustrate cross-sectorial side effects of land use policies, to compare the effects of regional policies with reference scenarios and to provide interactive maps and 3D visualization of future landscapes. The main target audience is composed of EU and international policy makers. A level 9 on the TRL scale can be assigned to this tool.