Today, 22 May, is the International Day for Biological Diversity. We are currently witnessing a steady loss of biodiversity, with profound consequences for the natural world and for human well-being. Through its extensive network and close collaboration with partners, the European Environment Agency (EEA) brings together the most comprehensive knowledge base on Europe’s biodiversity in order to help policymakers, civil society and the public tackle biodiversity loss.
Results from reporting under the nature directives 2007-2012. This report describing the state of nature in the EU is based on reports from Member States under the Birds and the Habitats directives and on subsequent assessments at EU or EU biogeographical levels. It provides comprehensive facts and figures on the status and trends of the species and habitats covered by the two EU nature directives, fully underpinned by the numerous reports submitted by Member States in 2013.
The majority of habitats and species in Europe have an unfavourable conservation status despite significant improvements for many species in recent years, according to a new technical report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) today. The report presents the most comprehensive European overview on the conservation status and trends of the habitats and species covered by the European Union’s (EU) two nature directives. Building on the reports submitted by EU member states, the report contributes to policy discussions in the context of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy.
Natura 2000 is the key instrument to protect biodiversity in the European Union. It is an ecological network of protected areas, set up to ensure the survival of Europe's most valuable species and habitats. Natura 2000 is based on the 1979 Birds Directive and the 1992 Habitats Directive.
The European Red List is a review of the conservation status of c.6,000 European species (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater fishes, butterflies, dragonflies, freshwater molluscs, selected groups of beetles, terrestrial molluscs, vascular plants including medicinal plants and bees), according to IUCN regional Red Listing guidelines applied to the EU27 and to the Pan-European level.
New in the 2015 version of the database is the inclusion of medicinal plants and bees.
Agricultural nitrogen surplus (the excess of nitrogen inputs over outputs on agricultural land) shows a declining trend, thereby potentially reducing environmental pressures on soil, water and air, and consequently, on biota. Many countries, however, still maintain a large surplus.
European ‘core natural/semi-natural’ lands became more fragmented in most countries and on average between 2000 and 2006. Their 1 km 2 surroundings developed towards a ‘mixed natural’ and/or ‘some natural’ mosaic pattern with agriculture and/or artificial lands. During this time period, the loss of the core natural landscape pattern, due to the spread of artificial and/or agricultural areas, occurred particularly in parts of southern (southwestern Spain, southern Portugal, Sicily), western (Great Britain), central (western Austria) and eastern (western Romania) Europe.
In 2006, 35% of European forest lands were fragmented i.e. distributed as a mixed landscape mosaic pattern where forest is intermingled with natural/semi-natural non forested lands, agriculture and artificial lands in their 1 km 2 surroundings. On average in Europe, between the years 2000 and 2006, forests in a ‘core natural’ landscape pattern became more fragmented towards a mixed landscape mosaic pattern, even if this trend was not observed for more than one third of European countries.
Although more than 40% of European landscape units reported a net forest area increase during between 2000 and 2006, only in one third of the units did this gain result in a significant increase in forest connectivity. In most countries, the trend of the units in a high connectivity range was either stable or showed a decrease during this period. Landscapes with poorly connected woodlands represented more than 60% of the EU in 2006.
This indicator shows the proportion of and trends in natural and semi natural areas, on the basis of land cover maps produced by the photo-interpretation of satellite imagery.
Since 2002, there has been a steady increase in the cumulative area of the Natura 2000 network. Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) increased in coverage from 450 000 to 810 000 square kilometres and Special Protected Areas (SPAs) increased from approximately 180 000 to 670 000 square kilometres. Ten countries have designated more than 20% of their territory.
The figure includes terrestrial and marine Special Protected Areas (SPAs). The area and percentage of territory corresponds to the area of Cyprus where the Community acquis apllies at present, according to protocol 10 of the Accession Treaty of Cyprus.
This figure includes terrestrial and marine Sites of Community Interest (SCIs). The area and percentage of territory corresponds to the area of Cyprus where the Community acquis applies at present, according to protocol 10 of the Accession Treaty of Cyprus.
This indicator shows the current status of implementation of the Habitats (92/43/EEC) and Birds Directives (79/409/EEC) by EU Member States. It does this by showing (a) trends in spatial coverage of proposals of sites and (b) by calculating a sufficiency index based on these proposals.
The total ecological footprint for the EU-28 countries increased rapidly during the 1960s and 70s, and has remained relatively constant since the 1980s. The region’s total biocapacity, however, has changed very little since 1961. The picture is similar for the EEA-33 countries.
The pan-European ecological footprint has been increasing almost constantly since 1961, while biocapacity (1) has decreased. This results in an ever larger deficit, with negative consequences for the environment within and outside Europe. (1) The capacity of ecosystems to produce useful biological materials and to absorb waste materials generated by humans, using current management schemes and extraction technologies.
Total ecological footprint is represented by the colored areas (as the product of per person footprint and population size); total biocapacity is represented by the areas within orange lines. As of 2010, the EU-28 had approximately 503 million citizens, and a biocapacity of 2.2 global hectares per capita.