Many habitats such as semi-natural grasslands, marshlands and bogs, and coastal wetlands are still declining and a significant number of species on land and in the European seas is threatened with extinction. Most biogeographic assessments of EU protected species and habitat types show an unfavourable conservation status.
Biological invasions and their negative effects on biodiversity are enhanced by growing international trade and climate change. More than 10 000 non-native species are now present in Europe, 10-15 % of which are considered to have negative economic or ecological effects.
Land-use change and intensification are causing further fragmentation and homogenisation of forests and agro-ecosystems. Although some decline in freshwater nutrients has been observed, eutrophication of terrestrial ecosystems continues to be a matter of concern as shown by excess atmospheric nitrogen deposition in all EU countries.
The EU policy objective of halting biodiversity loss by 2010 has thus not been achieved. The implementation of EU environmental legislation and policy has had positive effects, but progress is slow and threats have grown both within Europe and globally.
Extending Natura2000 on land is a major success but progress in designating marine Natura2000 sites has been slow so far. Overall it is too early to judge the effectiveness of the management regimes that have been put in place. Success in achieving biodiversity goals also depends on action in sectoral policy areas, such as agriculture or energy, as they are a key influence on land use change and intensity within protected areas and in the wider countryside.
Biodiversity and the ecosystem services upon which we all depend are inextricably linked. Both are under pressure from humanity's ever-increasing use of natural resources. Europe's high resource consumption results in an ecological footprint that impacts biodiversity and ecosystem services on the continent and elsewhere in the world.
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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