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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. This version covers the reporting in 2016.
Nature works hard to protect us and to sustain our everyday lives — a fact that is often under-appreciated. But it plays a vital role, providing clean air, clean drinking water, clothing, food and raw materials we use to build shelter. Other benefits are not so well known, such as the role nature plays in alleviating the effects of climate change. To highlight the important role nature plays in our lives, the European Environment Agency (EEA) invites you to participate in capturing how nature benefits you through the ‘NATURE@work’ photography competition.
The personal data you provide in the ‘My City’ submission form is processed in accordance with regulation (EC) No 45/2001 [OJ L 8/1 of 12.01.2001] of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data.
The rules listed below form the terms and conditions of the ‘NATURE@work’ photography competition. Please note that by submitting an entry electronically, you are deemed to have agreed to and accepted these rules.
What does nature mean to you? The European Environment Agency is organising a photography competition ‘NATURE@work’, which invites European citizens to capture how nature benefits them. Competition winners will receive a cash prize, and all entries may be promoted by the EEA and its partners across Europe.
What does nature mean to you? The European Environment Agency (EEA) is organising a photography competition ‘NATURE@work’, which invites European citizens to capture how nature benefits them.
Documents and other information relevant to the CDDA reporting from 2018 onwards will become available here.
Land take as a result of the expansion of residential areas and construction sites is the main cause of the increase in urban land coverage in Europe.
Agricultural zones and, to a lesser extent, forests and semi-natural and natural areas are disappearing in favour of the development of artificial surfaces. This affects biodiversity since it decreases habitats and fragments the landscapes that support and connect them.
Between 2006 and 2012, the annual land take in the European countries (EEA-39) assessed in the 2012 Corine land cover (CLC) project was approximately 107 000 ha/year. The figure for the 2000-2006 period was approximately 118 000 ha/year.
In the 28 countries 1 covered by all three CLC assessment periods (1990-2000, 2000-2006 and 2006-2012), annual land take decreased by 10.5 % between 2000 and 2006, and by 13.5 % between 2006 and 2012.
In absolute values, the annual land take in these 28 countries was 114 000 ha/year (1990-2000), 102 000 ha/year (2000-2006) and 98 500 ha/year (2006-2012).
Between 2000 and 2006, more arable land and permanent crops were taken by artificial development than between 1990 and 2000, while fewer pastures and less mosaic farmland were taken over the same period. In fact, between 2006 and 2012, the types of land most taken for artificial development were arable land and permanent crops, followed by pastures and mixed agricultural areas.
1 The 28 countries covered by all three CLC assessment periods are AT, BE, BG, CZ, DE, DK, ES, EE, FR, GR, HR, HU, IE, IT, LT, LU, LV, ME, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, RS, SI, SK, TR and UK.
Range shifts in forest tree species due to climate change have been observed towards higher altitudes and latitudes. These changes considerably affect the forest structure and the functioning of forest ecosystems and their services.
Future climate change and increasing CO2 concentrations are expected to affect site suitability, productivity, species composition and biodiversity. In general, forest growth is projected to increase in northern Europe and to decrease in southern Europe, but with substantial regional variation. Cold-adapted coniferous tree species are projected to lose large fractions of their ranges to more drought-adapted broadleaf species.
The projected changes will have an impact on the goods and services that forests provide. For example, the value of forest land in Europe is projected to decrease between 14 and 50 % during the 21st century.
Fire risk depends on many factors, including climatic conditions, vegetation, forest management practices and other socio-economic factors.
The burnt area in the Mediterranean region increased from 1980 to 2000; it has decreased thereafter.
In a warmer climate, more severe fire weather and, as a consequence, an expansion of the fire-prone area and longer fire seasons are projected across Europe. The impact of fire events is particularly strong in southern Europe.
Burnt area in five southern European countries
Current state of forest fire danger
Projected state of forest fire danger
Past trend of forest fire danger
Projected changes in forest fire danger
Projected change in climatic suitability for broadleaf and needleleaf trees
The timing of seasonal events has changed across Europe. A general trend towards earlier spring phenological stages (spring advancement) has been shown in many plant and animal species, mainly due to changes in climate conditions.
As a consequence of climate-induced changes in plant phenology, the pollen season starts on average 10 days earlier than it did and is longer than it was in the 1960s.
The life cycles of many animal groups have advanced in recent decades, with events occurring earlier in the year, including frogs spawning, birds nesting and the arrival of migrant birds and butterflies. This advancement is attributed primarily to a warming climate.
The breeding season of many thermophilic insects (such as butterflies, dragonflies and bark beetles) has been lengthening, allowing, in principle, more generations to be produced per year.
The observed trends are expected to continue into the future. However, simple extrapolations of current phenological trends may be misleading because the observed relationship between temperature and phenological events may change in the future.
Observed climate change is having significant impacts on the distribution of European flora and fauna, with distribution changes of several hundred kilometres projected over the 21st century. These impacts include northwards and uphill range shifts, as well as local and regional extinctions of species.
The migration of many species is lagging behind the changes in climate owing to intrinsic limitations, habitat use and fragmentation, and other obstacles, suggesting that they are unable to keep pace with the speed of climate change. Observed and modelled differences between actual and required migration rates may lead to a progressive decline in European biodiversity.
Climate change is likely to exacerbate the problem of invasive species in Europe. As climatic conditions change, some locations may become more favourable to previously harmless alien species, which then become invasive and have negative impacts on their new environments.
Climate change is affecting the interaction of species that depend on each other for food or other reasons. It can disrupt established interactions but also generate novel ones.
The map shows the projected change in the climatic suitable area for the Bumblebee Bombus terrestris (the largest and one of the most numerous bumblebee species in Europe) under the combined climate-land use scenario SEDG (Sustainable European Development Goal, including SRES B1) and GRAS (including SRES A2).
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For references, please go to http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/biodiversity/dm or scan the QR code.
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