Europe’s nature under pressure — challenges and solutions

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News Published 30 Sep 2021 Last modified 09 Feb 2023
2 min read
Photo: © Josef Timar, REDISCOVER Nature /EEA
The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) work and other assessments have shown that European ecosystems are under serious threat. Centuries of exploitation have left their mark on Europe’s natural world and most protected habitats and species are not in good conservation status. The EEA Signals 2021, published today, presents an overview of the problems Europe’s nature is facing and points to strategies to reverse the situation.

The value of nature goes beyond the direct services it provides to us. Nature has cultural value too, forming the backdrop to our existence as humans and providing the conditions necessary for good physical and mental health, as well as for emotional and spiritual well-being.

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director

EEA Signals 2021 — Europe’s nature provides a snapshot of the state of European nature — its habitats and species — and a window to the world of conservation, data collection and strategies to restore biodiversity and ecosystems. The ‘EEA Signals’ is a series of short articles based on previously published EEA data, information, and expert interviews.

This year’s ‘EEA Signals’ focuses the value of nature and why strong ecosystems are important for people’s well-being. An article on the state of nature outlines the challenges Europe’s nature is currently facing while other pieces look at the main causes behind the worrying situation and the most promising ways to allow nature to recover and flourish.

James Vause, lead economist at the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and contributor to the Dasgupta review on the economics of biodiversity, gives an interview about how accounting can help halt biodiversity loss.

Dr Beate Jessel, President of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, offers insights about the links between biodiversity and climate change, and what could be done to boost nature’s resilience in a changing climate.

Petr Voříšek from the Czech Society for Ornithology, and member of the coordination team of the European Breeding Bird Atlas 2, explains how data on bird populations are put together and what particular challenges Europe’s bird populations face today.

The EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 is Europe’s long-term plan to protect nature and reverse the degradation of ecosystems. Together with other initiatives, it is a core part of the European Green Deal, which outlines the EU’s long-term ambition of becoming the first climate-neutral continent with a sustainable economy by 2050.

The ‘EEA Signals’ is an annual, easy-to-read publication, that looks at key issues related to the environment and climate. Recent EEA Signals reports have looked at pollution (2020), soil (2019), water(2018), and energy (2017).

The EEA's latest 'State of nature in the EU' report shows alarming results from the 2013-2018 reporting period. Many species and habitats in Europe face an uncertain future unless urgent action is taken to reverse the situation.


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