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Sound and independent information
on the environment

Nature and biodiversity

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Key messages
  • Biodiversity decline and the loss of ecosystem services continue to be a major concern in the pan-European region. The target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010 will not be achieved without additional efforts.

  • The main pressures on biodiversity continue to be urban sprawl, infrastructure development, acidification, eutrophication, desertification, overexploitation, and intensification of agriculture and land abandonment. Climate change is increasingly recognised as a serious threat, particularly to coastal, arctic and alpine habitats and species.

  • More than 700 European species are currently under threat. 43 % of European bird species have an unfavourable conservation status.

  • There has been significant progress in creating ecological networks, particularly with the Pan-European Ecological Network and the Natura 2000 network, which now covers about 17 % of the total EU-25 land area. However, there is little information on the conservation status of these networks.

  • National forest plans that link sustainable forest management with an ecosystem approach are being implemented. The annual harvest of wood remains well below its annual increment, and primary forests (those hardly affected by human activity) make up about a quarter of the total forest area. However, illegal logging and human‑induced forest fires are a growing problem, particularly in EECCA and SEE.

  • The general biodiversity trend on agricultural land is negative despite agricultural policies being increasingly geared towards biodiversity conservation. The area of agricultural land in use has decreased and management of the remaining areas has intensified. Identification of high nature value farmland by 2006, a target of the Kiev Resolution, has not been fully completed. The proportion of these areas under favourable management cannot yet be assessed.

  • The number of invasive alien species in the pan-European region continues to increase. Although the problem is recognised in most countries and strategic action is being taken, the efficiency of control measures needs to be increased by better monitoring and early warning systems.

  • There are major data gaps on species, habitats and related landscape parameters. There has been progress in developing headline indicators for evaluating the 2010 target, but adequate funding for the long-term monitoring needed has not yet been forthcoming.

  • Participation and awareness of biodiversity issues is growing and the Kiev Resolution target of implementing Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) programmes in half the pan-European countries by 2010 seems achievable.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100