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Protected areas today cover a relatively large part of Europe, with almost 21 % of the territory of EEA member countries and collaborating countries consisting of protected areas. In spite of this widespread presence of protected areas in all European countries, the topic has not received as much attention on a pan-European level as other environmental issues. We hope this report from the EEA the first we have compiled on the subject will go some way to redressing the balance. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of protected areas and aims to assist policymakers and the wider public in understanding the complexity of the current systems of protected areas.
Streamlining European biodiversity indicators 2020: Building a future on lessons learnt from the SEBI 2010 process19 Sep 2012
This report marks the end of the current SEBI cycle noting SEBI milestones and drawing lessons for further improving the process and the indicator set.
A story in the "Our Natural Europe" series
The impacts of endocrine disrupters on wildlife, people and their environments – The Weybridge+15 (1996–2011) report10 May 2012
Rates of endocrine diseases and disorders, such as some reproductive and developmental harm in human populations, have changed in line with the growth of the chemical industry, leading to concerns that these factors may be linked. For example, the current status of semen quality in the few European countries where studies have been systematically conducted, is very poor: fertility in approximately 40 % of men is impaired. There is also evidence of reproductive and developmental harm linked to impairments in endocrine function in a number of wildlife species, particularly in environments that are contaminated by cocktails of chemicals that are in everyday use. Based on the human and wildlife evidence, many scientists are concerned about chemical pollutants being able to interfere with the normal functioning of hormones, so-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), that could play a causative role in these diseases and disorders. If this holds true, then these 'early warnings' signal a failure in environmental protection that should be addressed.
Urban green spaces, forests for cooler cities and healthier people
This report presents an overall experimental framework for ecosystem capital accounting. It is based on the to implement simplified ecosystem capital accounts for Europe as a 'fast-track' initiative launched by the European Environment Agency in 2010. The experimental framework highlights accounting balances and relationships between accounting tables and systems as well as key indicators and aggregates that describe economy ecosystem interactions. Ecosystem accounts are being developed as part of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts which aims at supplementing the UN System of National Accounts with information on the environment and natural capital.
Forests do not only provide us food, fibre and medicine, they regulate our climate and improve our quality of life. Human activities and climate change exert increasing pressure on our forest resources and the services they provide. With increasing demand on forests services on the one side, and uncertainty and risks linked to climate change on the other, we need to ensure that forests can continue fulfilling their multifunctional role.
Joint EEA-FOEN report
The European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes Signals each year, providing snapshot stories on issues of interest to the environmental policy debate and the wider public in the coming year.
Biodiversity — the variety of ecosystems, species and genes — is essential to human wellbeing, delivering services that sustain our economies and societies. Its huge importance makes biodiversity loss all the more troubling. European species are threatened with extinction and overexploitation. Natural habitats continue to be lost and fragmented, and degraded by pollution and climate change. Despite actions taken and progress made, these threats continue to impact biodiversity in Europe. The new global and EU targets to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2020 are ambitious but achieving them will require better policy implementation, coordination across sectors, ecosystem management approaches and a wider understanding of biodiversity's value.
The EU 2010 Biodiversity Baseline provides facts and figures on the state and trends of the different biodiversity and ecosystem components. It thereby supports the EU in developing the post‑2010 sub‑targets and provides factual data for measuring and monitoring progress in the EU from 2011 to 2020.
The present report considers the status and trends of pan-European biodiversity, and the implications of these trends for biodiversity management policy and practice. It considers the key biodiversity policy instruments currently applied in Europe, the threats to biodiversity and their management implications across major habitat types. The implications for biodiversity of cross-cutting issues such as tourism and urban planning are also considered, along with the challenges that remain for conserving and sustainably using of Europe's biodiversity. The report makes use of the SEBI 2010 indicators and other relevant national and regional information sources. It does not consider the biodiversity of EU overseas territories and outermost regions.
Key messages: 1) Diverse climatic conditions, varied geology and morphology and centuries of pre- and post-industrial land use created Europe's diverse mosaic of cultural and natural landscapes, rich in biodiversity. 2) Europe's landscapes have become highly fragmented and homogenised, threatening their biodiversity and affecting their multifunctional role. 3) By managing its multifunctional culture-historical landscapes and related biodiversity sustainably, Europe can secure valuable ecosystems services while preserving its cultural and natural heritage. 4) Various legal instruments and initiatives address European biodiversity heritage at the landscape level. Incorporating these into regional and local planning and involving local communities is necessary to secure Europe's biodiversity heritage and maintain multifunctional landscapes.
Flyer: a living resource for biodiversity information
Key messages: 1) As an interface between land and sea, European coastlines provide vital resources for wildlife, but also for the economy and human health and well-being. 2) Multiple pressures, including habitat loss and degradation, pollution, climate change and overexploitation of fish stocks, affect coastal ecosystems. 3) Coastal habitat types and species of Community interest are at risk in Europe; two thirds of coastal habitat types and more than half of coastal species have an unfavourable conservation status. 4) Integrated and ecosystem-based approaches provide the foundation for sustainable coastal management and development, supporting socio-economic development, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Coordinated action at the global, regional and local levels will be key to sustainable management of coastal ecosystems.
European mountain regions provide essential ecosystem services for lowlands and host a great diversity of habitats and species, many adapted to specific extreme climatic conditions. Mountain ecosystems are fragile and vulnerable, and face severe threats from land abandonment, intensifying agriculture, impacts of infrastructure development, unsustainable exploitation and climate change.
Within the framework of the CAP, the last 50 years have seen increasing attention to biodiversity, but without clear benefits so far. With agriculture covering about half of EU land area, Europe's biodiversity is linked inextricably to agricultural practices, creating valuable agro-ecosystems across the whole of Europe.
A story in the "Our Natural Europe" series
A story in the "Our Natural Europe" series.
Scaling up ecosystem benefits - a contribution to The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study01 Jun 2010
The present report analyses options for scaling up existing estimates of ecosystem service values to larger geographical scales. It also presents a case study of wetlands at the European level and discusses the results and policy applications.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
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