Nature protection and biodiversity - State and impacts (Luxembourg)
- Nature and biodiversity
Luxembourg, despite its small size and the fact of being a landlocked country, stands out because of its geological and landscape diversity and species richness. From a socio-economic standpoint, Luxembourg is known for its economic prosperity, based on a flourishing financial and service sector, and continued population growth, driven to a large extent by immigration. The development of Luxembourg from a predominantly rural economy, to a stronghold of the European steel industry and subsequently a financial centre has been, and still is, the main driver of biodiversity loss.
While the overall status of biodiversity is still difficult to assess, national red lists, landscape statistics and monitoring of selected species often show negative trends [Figure 1]. Indeed, roughly 55 % of mammals, 40 % of birds, 30 % of reptiles, and 70 % of amphibians are currently listed as endangered, while biodiversity-rich habitats such as wetlands, dry meadows and extensively used orchards have seriously declined over the past 30 years [Figure 2]. Generally, biodiversity is in a better conservation status in forests than in open, predominantly agricultural and aquatic ecosystems. Indicator species of agricultural systems, such as farmland birds and plants confirm this overall assessment through a continuing decline in species distribution and population size. A comparative analysis of landscape structure and composition spanning from the 1960s to the late 1990s underline these trends, providing clear evidence of a rampant homogenisation of landscapes.
Figure 1 - Landscape monitoring: 1962-1999
Source: Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure - Department of the Environment.
Figure 2 - Threatened species in Luxembourg: latest available census
a) Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure - Department of the Environment, Plan National Protection de la Nature, part 3;
b) Colling Guy, Red List of the Vascular Plants of Luxembourg in Ferrantia 42, Luxembourg, 2005, p. 55.
Note: threatened species are those recorded as Regionally Extinct (RE), Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU).