There is mounting evidence that the status of many ecosystems is reaching or has already reached the point of no return. In the same way that a 2 degree rise in global temperature above pre-industrial levels would lead to catastrophic climatic change, the loss of biodiversity beyond certain limits would have far-reaching consequences for the very functioning of the planet. These limits are still being defined, but it is already clear to the scientific community that the current rate of biodiversity loss puts the future well-being of citizens in the EU and worldwide at risk (European Commission, 2010).
Species faced with the risk of extinction
Up to 25 % of European animal species, including mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds and butterflies face the risk of extinction and are therefore included in the EU Regional Red List by IUCN.
Poor conservation status
62 % of the habitats and 52 % of the species covered by the EU Habitats Directive are considered to be in an unfavourable conservationstatus (EEA-ETC/BD, 2009).
Natura 2000 site designation — nearly completed
Designation of Natura 2000terrestrial sites in Europe is nearly completed. Much more effort is needed for the marine sites (EEA-ETC/BD, 2010).