BISE and baseline: new tools to combat biodiversity loss in Europe
Image © Carlos Romao
The challenge is to translate all the knowledge and information we have about biodiversity in the baseline and BISE into everyday language to mobilise communities and individuals to take action. We cannot think of truly halting the loss of biodiversity without their personal involvement and commitment.
Prof. Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA
"Biodiversity loss is not an abstract phenomenon – it's about the here and now," said European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik. "By showing us exactly where we stand, these important new tools will help us review our actions and take tangible new measures to stop the loss, and reverse it wherever possible."
"The challenge is to translate all the knowledge and information we have about biodiversity in the baseline and BISE into everyday language to mobilise communities and individuals to take action", said Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA. "We cannot think of truly halting the loss of biodiversity without their personal involvement and commitment."
A baseline for measuring progress
Europe's failure to halt biodiversity loss by 2010 was partly caused by gaps in available knowledge about the state of biodiversity in Europe and the absence of easily quantifiable targets. The baseline is intended to solve these problems and provide policymakers with a starting point for measuring the state of biodiversity inside the EU and unveiling major information gaps. It provides a framework for articulating linkages between species numbers, habitats status and ecosystem services, and uses facts and figures that are scientifically robust and have been validated and/or peer reviewed in the Member States.
Information on species and habitats will be organised into main ecosystem types (coastal, wetlands, grasslands, forests and so forth). After 2010, these data, which will be regularly updated, will provide a clear historical record of progress. Most importantly, the baseline will also provide information on ecosystem services. The baseline outlined today will be fully developed before the end of the year and will support the development of biodiversity sub-targets to be set by the forthcoming revised EU Biodiversity Policy.
BISE: a unique platform for biodiversity information
BISE is the European information portal designed to facilitate access to existing information about nature and biodiversity, presenting existing data in a far more comprehensive manner than before. As well as information about EU policy and legislation in the area of nature, there is a wealth of material about the state of the EU environment and ecosystems and the threats they face, information about research in biodiversity that is going on around the EU, and access to information about the state of biodiversity reporting in Member States, designed to encourage greater cooperation.
- The serious and continuing loss to Europe's biodiversity is a reflection of the ongoing decline in ecosystems, natural capacity and their ability to perform regulating functions. The EEA has recently released a technical report ‘Ecosystem accounting and the cost of biodiversity losses — the case of coastal Mediterranean wetlands’, which explains how we can use land and ecosystem accounting techniques to describe and monitor the consequences of biodiversity loss.
- The EEA published today a new technical report 'Towards an early warning and information system for invasive alien species (IAS) threatening biodiversity in Europe'. Invasive alien species have over the last decades become a major driver of biodiversity loss, second only to habitat fragmentation. Europe is particularly affected by alien species, which are invading the continent at an unprecedented pace. The report is a contribution to the establishment of an ‘Early Warning and Rapid Response System (EWRR)’, which is a framework designed to respond to biological invasions through a coordinated system.