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European forest ecosystems - State and trends

Forests are rich in biodiversity and valuable for recreation, water regulation and soil protection. As well as for providing timber and other non-wood forest products, forests are important for mitigating climate change and for the renewable energy sector. Forest ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental, economic and social pressures that challenge their sustainability. The forest sector is influenced by the unprecedented pressures arising from climate change and the growing demands of society on natural resources. The aim of this report is to assess the current state of forest ecosystems in Europe on the pathway to healthy, diverse, resilient and productive forests for the benefit of present and future generations.

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Mapping and assessing the condition of Europe's ecosystems: progress and challenges

We depend on healthy and resilient ecosystems to continue to deliver services, such as food, water, clean air and stable climate, which are essential for our well-being. This report provides an overview about the current condition of ecosystems in Europe and the human pressures they are exposed to. A ecosystem map for Europe reveals that many ecosystems are highly concentrated in a small number of countries, which could increase their vulnerability to environmental change, and a substantial proportion of the most vulnerable ecosystems are not protected within Natura 2000 sites, Marine Protected Areas or equivalent zones.

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Linking in situ vegetation data to the EUNIS habitat classification: results for forest habitats

This report descibes the EUNIS habitat classification review which provides the context for a number of policy-related ecosystem and habitat assessments. It is a European reference to which other national or regional classifications can be cross referenced. The review of terrestrial EUNIS habitat classification, on the basis of georeferenced vegetation samples, aims to enhance the technical capacity for documenting, monitoring and assessing the quality of habitats at the European level. This work strengthens the knowledge base that is used for assessing progress towards the European Union (EU) and global biodiversity targets for 2020.

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Spatial analysis of marine protected area networks in Europe's seas

This European Environment Agency (EEA) technical report presents an overview of the 2012 spatial distribution of the networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) established in the waters of EU), excluding overseas territories.

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Marine protected areas in Europe's seas — An overview and perspectives for the future

Europe's seas are under pressure. Marine protected areas (MPAs) can act as a key conservation measure to safeguard marine ecosystems and biodiversity as well as the services these ecosystems provide. The report provides an overview on progress made to date in establishing MPAs and MPA networks in Europe's seas, specifically MPAs reported by European Union (EU) Member States up to and including 2012. It also discusses how best to assess the effectiveness of these MPAs and determine their effectiveness in protecting biodiversity across Europe's seas.

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Water-retention potential of Europe's forests

This report provides for the first time a European overview of the role of forests in water retention, based on the Water Accounts Production Database developed at the EEA. The results represent 287 sub-basins hosting more than 65 000 catchments across Europe. The impact of forests on water retention is measured according to three parameters/characteristics: forest cover (measured in hectares), forest types (coniferous, broad-leaved, mixed), and the degree of management of the forests (‘protected’ versus unprotected/commercial forests). The estimation of the water-retention potential is derived from the relationships between input (rainfall) and output (water run-off into rivers and lakes) as affected by these three forest characteristics.

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Exploring nature-based solutions — The role of green infrastructure in mitigating the impacts of weather- and climate change-related natural hazards

This report focuses on certain types of extreme events and natural hazards at European scale that will be very likely amplified by ongoing climate change, i.e. landslides, avalanches, floods and storm surges. In addition, the report also touches upon the green infrastructure and ecosystem services contributing to global climate regulation. The analysis is carried out using spatially explicit data centred on the physical capacity of ecosystems to deliver services that can mitigate natural hazard risks.

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EU 2010 biodiversity baseline — adapted to the MAES typology (2015)

This report presents a revised overview of the EEA's EU 2010 biodiversity baseline report. The revision is necessary because the typology of ecosystems used in the 2010 report has since been altered by a working group of biodiversity experts. The revised report provides the relevant facts and figures on the state and trends of the different biodiversity and ecosystem components recalculated to align with the new typology of ecosystems.

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European ecosystem assessment — concept, data, and implementation

Contribution to Target 2 Action 5 Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020

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State of nature in the EU

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.

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EU Overseas entities and their natural capital

Six European Union Member States have links to 34 Outermost Regions (ORs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). This briefing looks at the ways people and their economies in these far-flung regions both depend on and affect ecosystems.

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Developing a forest naturalness indicator for Europe

Concept and methodology for a high nature value (HNV) forest indicator: European forests are a complex mosaic of conditions, constantly influenced by internal dynamics and external pressures determined by natural and anthropogenic factors. This report documents the first steps for the development of a forest naturalness indicator for Europe. An enhanced European HNV forest indicator and its corresponding map will enable us to gain better insight into the current status and extent of forest naturalness, and will allow for further analyses on spatial and time trends.

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Effects of air pollution on European ecosystems

Past and future exposure of European freshwater and terrestrial habitats to acidifying and eutrophying air pollutants

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Terrestrial habitat mapping in Europe: an overview

This is a joint MNHN-EEA report. Identification, description, classification and mapping of natural and semi-natural habitats are gaining recognition in the sphere of environmental policy implementation. Although plant science remains at the core of the approach, habitat mapping increasingly finds applications in land planning and management and is often a necessary step in preparing nature and biodiversity conservation plans.

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European bat population trends – A prototype biodiversity indicator

This project set out to support the Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators (SEBI) process by developing a prototype indicator of European bat population trends. The methodology for the construction of the indicator was built by adapting and testing a statistical approach previously developed for birds and butterflies. The resulting prototype hibernating bat indicator covered the period from 1993 to 2011; data were incorporated on 16 species from 10 schemes spread over 9 countries.

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Global megatrend update: 8 Growing demands on ecosystems

In 2010, the EEA produced its first assessment of global megatrends as part of its five-yearly assessment of the European environment's state, trend and prospects (SOER 2010). In preparation for SOER 2015, the EEA updated each of the megatrends, providing a more detailed analysis based on the latest data. This publication is one of the 11 updates being published separately. In mid-2015 the chapters will be consolidated into a single EEA technical report.

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Balancing the future of Europe's coasts — knowledge base for integrated management

The objective of this report is to frame an analytical approach for coastal areas in Europe, and to place this in the context of the new socio‑economic drivers of sustainable growth, and the formation of a new integrated policy framework. This framework builds on an ecosystem‑based management approach and integrated spatial planning and management. The report presents some key sustainability challenges for European coastal areas and waters, and highlights the need for a consolidated knowledge base and widespread information‑sharing to support informed policy development and management actions.

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Coming home to roost!

Coming home to roost!

02 Sep 2013

A story in the "Our Natural Europe" series

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Nets, nature and national parks

A story in the "Our Natural Europe" series

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The European Grassland Butterfly Indicator: 1990…-2011

This report presents the European Grassland Butterfly Indicator, based on national Butterfly Monitoring Schemes (BMS) in 19 countries across Europe, most of them in the European Union.

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