Species of European interest
Key messagesAround half of the species of Community interest (those species which, within the territory of the European Union are listed in Annexes II, IV and V of the Habitats Directive) have an unfavourable conservation status, with variation across biogeographic regions (1).
There are still significant gaps in knowledge, especially for marine species.
(1) The reporting format uses three classes of Conservation Status. 'Good' (green) signifies that the species or habitat is at Favourable Conservation Status (FCS) as defined in the Directive and the habitat or species can be expected to prosper without any change to existing management or policies. In addition, two classes of 'Unfavourable' are recognised: 'Unfavourable-Bad' (red) signifies that the habitat or species is in serious danger of becoming extinct (at least locally) and 'Unfavourable-Inadequate' (amber) is used for situations where a change in management or policy is required but the danger of extinction is not so high. The unfavourable category has been split into two classes to allow improvements or deterioration to be reported. (Assessment, monitoring and reporting under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive: Explanatory Notes & Guidelines DRAFT 2 January 2006).
What is the conservation status of species of Community interest?
Species of European interest — conservation status by biogeographical region
Note: In the Alpine region, more than 25 % of species have a 'favourable' status and more than 20 % have an 'unfavourable' or 'bad' status.
- Conservation status of habitat types and species (Article 17, Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC) provided by European Environment Agency (EEA)
Unfavourable status is most frequently reported for the species in the marine Baltic region and the continental region (100 and 70 %, respectively).
The variation amongst species groups is limited, but amphibians appear to be most threatened, with nearly 70 % having an unfavourable conservation status. In most cases, the trend information was not available. For many species, recovery to a favourable conservation status will take considerable time. The next evaluation, due in 2013, will help assess the efficiency of the Directive.
Figure 1 and Map 1 are based on assessments of species as listed in Annexes II, IV and V of the Directive. Member States are required to assess each species in each biogeographical zone in which it exists in the country. A regional assessment has been calculated based on the Member State assessments.
- About species of European interest: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/habitatsdirective/index_en.htm.
- About biogeographical regions: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/sites_hab/biogeog_regions/index_en.htm.
- About conservation status assessment: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/knowledge/rep_habitats/index_en.htm#csa.
Indicator specification and metadata
The indicator shows changes in the conservation status of species of European interest.
It is currently based on data collected under the obligations for monitoring under Article 11 of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC).
Units used in figures: %
Policy context and targets
The indicator covers the species which are considered to be of European interest (listed in Annexes II, IV and V of the Habitats Directive). This set of species was chosen to be on the annexes of the Directive because they were perceived to be under some sort of threat at an EU scale. The species set covers various taxonomic groups, trophic levels and habitats.
Indicator trends should primarily be influenced by the implementation of measures under the Habitats Directive, such as the establishment of the Natura 2000 network and the species protection measures. Therefore the indicator assesses the success of the Habitats Directive, one of the main legislative pillars of EU nature conservation policy.
NB. At present the proposals for this indicator are restricted to the non-avian species listed on Annexes II, IV and V of the Habitats Directive. In the longer term, subject to discussions between Member States and the European Commission (e.g. through the Ornis Committee), on reporting under Article 12 of the Birds Directive, it may be possible to include avian species within the indicator.
Relation of the indicator to the focal area
The indicator is directly related to the CBD Focal area 'Status and trends of components of biological biodiversity'. It refers to the status of species (conservation status as defined in Article 1 of the Habitats Directive) and trends in the status over time.
No targets have been specified
Related policy documents
No related policy documents have been specified
Methodology for indicator calculation
EU Member States have to monitor and report the conservation status (CS) of species of European interest (Annexes II, IV, V of the Directive). The conservation status is illustrated in three 'traffic light' categories ('favourable' - green, 'unfavourable inadequate' - amber, 'unfavourable bad' - red, plus unknown) characterised by four parameters:
- trends and status of range,
- trends and status of the overall population,
- quality and extent of the habitat,
- future prospects.
The indicator is based on the number of species in the three CS categories and changes between categories in time.
Further about conservation status assessment:
Methodology for gap filling
No methodology for gap filling has been specified. Probably this info has been added together with indicator calculation.
No methodology references available.
No uncertainty has been specified
Data sets uncertainty
No uncertainty has been specified
MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF THE INDICATOR
- Limited trend information: the underlying data is not yet available and only one data set will become available before 2010. The data will only be reported in a six-year cycle.
- The indicator is based on the EU Habitats Directive; a transfer to the global/ pan-European level is not possible.
- There are no EU wide standards for data collection. The robustness of the indicator could therefore be limited.
Conservation status of habitat types and species (Article 17, Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC)
provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV) , European Environment Agency (EEA)
Biodiversity (Primary topic)
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
- SEBI 003
- CSI 007
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoKatarzyna Biala
EEA Management Plan2010 1.2.2 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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