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Birds and butterflies are sensitive to environmental change and can indicate the health of the environment. Long-term monitoring shows significant declines in farmland birds and grassland butterflies. Between 1990 and 2019, the index of 168 common birds decreased by 8% in the 25 EU Member States with monitoring schemes. The decline in common farmland birds over the same period was much more pronounced at 27%, while the common forest bird index increased by 5%. Between 1991 and 2018 the grassland butterfly index also declined strongly, by 25%, in the 17 EU countries with monitoring data.
Biodiversity collectively describes millions of unique living organisms that inhabit Earth, and the interactions among them. They represent a vital element of our lives but are under continuous threat. The conservation status of more than 60% of species and habitats protected under the EU Habitats Directive is unfavourable. This has fundamental consequences for our society, economy and human health.