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Biodiversity — Ecosystems

Destruction and loss of biodiversity is as catastrophic as climate change

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.

European protected sites

The map shows an overview of protected sites in Europe. The EU’s Natura 2000 network and the Bern Convention’s Emerald Network are ecological networks of protected areas, set up to ensure the survival of Europe's most valuable species and habitats. Information about protected areas designated at national levels is reported by the 39 countries of Eionet.

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Unsustainable farming and forestry, urban sprawl and pollution are the top pressures to blame for a drastic decline in Europe’s biodiversity, threatening the survival of thousands of animal species and habitats. Moreover, European Union (EU) nature directives and other environmental laws still lack implementation by Member States. Most protected habitats and species are not in good conservation status and much more must be done to reverse the situation, according to the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) ‘State of nature in the EU’ report, published today.

This year’s European Environment Agency’s (EEA) ‘REDISCOVER Nature’ photo competition is our most successful ever and as of today, you can vote for your favourite photos and help decide the winner of the Public Choice Award.

The European Union’s (EU) Natura 2000 network of protected areas is expanding. To make full use the network’s potential, the protected sites need to be managed better with clear conservation goals, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today. The briefing shows, that currently many of Europe’s protected sites lack specific and measurable conservation objectives.

Published: 19 Oct 2020

This report describing the state of nature in the EU is based on reports from Member States under the Birds (2009/147/EC) and the Habitats (92/43/EEC) directives and on subsequent assessments at EU or EU biogeographical levels. In addition to an overview on species and habitats status, both at national and EU levels, it also addresses the status of the Natura 2000 network and its possible contribution to the status of species and habitats. Finally, the report provides results on progress towards Targets 1 and 3 of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy.

Published: 06 Oct 2020

This briefing shows that to improve management effectiveness, complete implementation on the EU Birds and Habitats Directives is essential. It also brings together results from a study into options for reporting, collating and assessing protected area management effectiveness with a view to informing the new global strategic framework.

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