Indicator Specification

Conservation status of species under the EU Habitats Directive

Indicator Specification
  Indicator codes: SEBI 003
Published 31 Mar 2021 Last modified 31 Mar 2021
9 min read
The indicator illustrates the conservation status and trends of 1 389 species of Community interest listed in the Habitats Directive at EU and Member State level. Conservation status is shown as good, poor, bad or unknown. It is based on data collected under the reporting obligations of Article 17 of the EU Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC).

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)


Justification for indicator selection

This indicator covers species that are considered of Community interest, as listed in Annexes II, IV and V of the Habitats Directive (EU, 1992), one of the main legislative pillars of EU nature conservation policy. The indicator directly indicates the extent of implementation and the success of the Habitats Directive.

Article 17 reporting (EC, 2021c) was also relevant for measuring progress towards several targets of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. It was crucial for measuring progress towards target 1 and contributed significantly to measuring progress towards target 3.

Scientific references

Indicator definition

The indicator illustrates the conservation status and trends of 1 389 species of Community interest listed in the Habitats Directive at EU and Member State level. Conservation status is shown as good, poor, bad or unknown. It is based on data collected under the reporting obligations of Article 17 of the EU Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC).


Percentage (%) of assessments with good, poor, bad or unknown conservation status.


Policy context and targets

Context description

The EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 contains specific commitments and actions to be delivered by 2030 (EC, 2021a). One of its main instruments is the EU nature restoration plan, which has several aims, including strengthening the EU legal framework for nature restoration, and requests that Member States ensure no deterioration in conservation trends and status of all protected habitats and species by 2030.

The 233 protected habitats, as well as over 1 000 species, are targeted by designating Sites of Community Importance, which are part of the Natura 2000 network. For more information on the Natura 2000 network, see EEA (2020e).


EU Biodiversity strategy for 2030 — key commitments of the EU nature restoration plan by 2030:
1. Legally binding EU nature restoration targets to be proposed in 2021, subject to an impact assessment. By 2030, significant areas of degraded and carbon-rich ecosystems are restored; habitats and species show no deterioration in conservation trends and status; and at least 30 % reach favourable conservation status or at least show a positive trend.
2. The decline in pollinators is reversed.
3. The risk and use of chemical pesticides is reduced by 50 % and the use of more hazardous pesticides is reduced by 50 %.
4. At least 10 % of agricultural area is under high-diversity landscape features.
5. At least 25 % of agricultural land is under organic farming management, and the uptake of agro-ecological practices is significantly increased.
6. Three billion new trees are planted in the EU, in full respect of ecological principles.
7. Significant progress has been made in the remediation of contaminated soil sites.
8. At least 25 000 km of free-flowing rivers are restored.
9. There is a 50 % reduction in the number of Red List species threatened by invasive alien species.
10. The losses of nutrients from fertilisers are reduced by 50 %, resulting in the reduction of the use of fertilisers by at least 20 %.
11. Cities with at least 20 000 inhabitants have an ambitious Urban Greening Plan.
12. No chemical pesticides are used in sensitive areas such as EU urban green areas.
13. The negative impacts on sensitive species and habitats, including on the seabed through fishing and extraction activities, are substantially reduced to achieve good environmental status.
14. The by-catch of species is eliminated or reduced to a level that allows species recovery and conservation.

Related policy documents

  • Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992
    Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.
  • EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy
    in the Communication: Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 (COM(2011) 244) the European Commission has adopted a new strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. There are six main targets, and 20 actions to help Europe reach its goal. The six targets cover: - Full implementation of EU nature legislation to protect biodiversity - Better protection for ecosystems, and more use of green infrastructure - More sustainable agriculture and forestry - Better management of fish stocks - Tighter controls on invasive alien species - A bigger EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss
  • EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030
    The European Commission has adopted the new  EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and an associated Action Plan (annex)  - a comprehensive, ambitious, long-term plan for protecting nature and reversing the degradation of ecosystems. It aims to put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030 with benefits for people, the climate and the planet. It aims to build our societies’ resilience to future threats such as climate change impacts, forest fires, food insecurity or disease outbreaks, including by protecting wildlife and fighting illegal wildlife trade. A core part of the  European Green Deal , the Biodiversity Strategy will also support a green recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key policy question

Species of European interest, aggregated assessment level

Specific policy question

Species of European interest, disaggregated assessment level



Methodology for indicator calculation

Under Article 17 reporting, each Member State provides an assessment of all species of Communityinterest (habitats listed in Annexes II, IV and V o) at national biogeographical level and supporting data, such as those on habitat surface area. EU regional assessments of conservation status are made by the EEA and its European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity (ETC/BD), based on data and assessments reported by Member States.

The conservation status of a species is derived using four parameters:

- range;

- population;

- habitat for the species;

- future prospects.

Full details of the methodology are available from State of nature in the EU — Methodological paper: Methodologies under the nature directives reporting 2013-2018 and analysis for the state of nature 2000 (ETC/BD, 2020).

Methodology for gap filling

No methodology for gap filling has been specified.

Methodology references

No methodology references available.


Data specifications

EEA data references

Data sources in latest figures



Methodology uncertainty

Further streamlining and harmonisation of methodologies used by Member States are needed at EU level to reduce the differences that make aggregation and interpretation of data at the EU level difficult. The quality of the data reported (often based on simple expert judgement) also indicates that Member States need to further develop or complement their inventories and monitoring schemes.

Data sets uncertainty

Quality and availability of information from Member States impacts the quality of the EU assessment of status and trends.

Rationale uncertainty

No rationale uncertainty has been specified.

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Katarzyna Biala


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
SEBI 003
Version id: 4

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 6 years


DPSIR: State
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
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