Abundance and distribution of selected European species

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-140-en
Also known as: SEBI 001 , CSI 050
Created 08 Jul 2019 Published 09 Aug 2019 Last modified 09 Aug 2019
13 min read
Monitoring schemes show significant long-term (25-year) downward trends in common birds (in particular farmland birds) and grassland butterfly population numbers, with no signs of recovery. Between 1990 and 2016, there was a 9 % decrease in the index of common birds in the 26 EU Member States with bird population monitoring schemes. This decrease is slightly greater (11 %) if figures for Norway and Switzerland are included. The common forest bird index decreased by 3 % (EU) and by 5 % (EU plus Norway and Switzerland) over the same period. The decline in common farmland bird numbers over the same period was much more pronounced, at 32 % (EU) and 35 % (EU plus Norway and Switzerland).  The index of grassland butterflies has declined significantly in the 15 EU countries where butterfly monitoring schemes exist. In 2017, the index was 39 % below its 1990 value.  

Key messages

Monitoring schemes show significant long-term (25-year) downward trends in common birds (in particular farmland birds) and grassland butterfly population numbers, with no signs of recovery.

Between 1990 and 2016, there was a 9 % decrease in the index of common birds in the 26 EU Member States with bird population monitoring schemes. This decrease is slightly greater (11 %) if figures for Norway and Switzerland are included. The common forest bird index decreased by 3 % (EU) and by 5 % (EU plus Norway and Switzerland) over the same period.

The decline in common farmland bird numbers over the same period was much more pronounced, at 32 % (EU) and 35 % (EU plus Norway and Switzerland). 

The index of grassland butterflies has declined significantly 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, 1990-2016

Dashboard EU
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Dashboard Europe
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
EU - Common birds population index
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
All common birds in EU
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Common farmland birds in EU
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Common forest birds in EU
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Europe - Common birds population index
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
All common birds in Europe
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Common farmland birds in Europe
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Common forest birds in EU
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Table