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Abundance and distribution of selected European species

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-140-en
Also known as: SEBI 001 , CSI 050
Created 22 Apr 2020 Published 19 Jun 2020 Last modified 19 Jun 2020
13 min read
Long-term monitoring schemes show significant downward trends in common farmland birds and in grassland butterfly population numbers, with no signs of recovery. Between 1990 and 2017, there was an 8 % decline in the index of 168 common bird species in the 25 EU Member States with bird population monitoring schemes and the United Kingdom (UK). The common forest bird index showed no decrease over the same period. The decreases were slightly greater if figures for Norway and Switzerland are included: 11 % for all common birds and 2 % for forest birds. The decline in common farmland bird numbers between 1990 and 2017 was much more pronounced, at 33 % (EU Member States and UK) and 35 % (if Norway and Switzerland are included).  The index of grassland butterflies has declined strongly in the 15 EU countries where butterfly monitoring schemes exist. In 2017, the index was 39 % below its 1990 value.

Key messages

Long-term monitoring schemes show significant downward trends in common farmland birds and in grassland butterfly population numbers, with no signs of recovery.

Between 1990 and 2017, there was an 8 % decline in the index of 168 common bird species in the 25 EU Member States with bird population monitoring schemes and the United Kingdom (UK). The common forest bird index showed no decrease over the same period. The decreases were slightly greater if figures for Norway and Switzerland are included: 11 % for all common birds and 2 % for forest birds.

The decline in common farmland bird numbers between 1990 and 2017 was much more pronounced, at 33 % (EU Member States and UK) and 35 % (if Norway and Switzerland are included). 

The index of grassland butterflies has declined strongly in the 15 EU countries where butterfly monitoring schemes exist. In 2017, the index was 39 % below its 1990 value.

Has the decline in common species in Europe been halted?

Common birds - population index, 1990-2017

Dashboard EU + UK
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Dashboard Europe
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EU + UK - Common birds population index
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All common birds in EU + UK
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Common farmland birds in EU + UK
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Common forest birds in EU + UK
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Europe - Common birds population index
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All common birds in Europe
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Common farmland birds in Europe
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Common forest birds in EU + UK
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