The Habitats Directive protects 233 natural and semi-natural habitat types (called habitats of Community interest), which are in danger of disappearing, have a small range or are outstanding examples of biogeographical regions. The directive outlines requirements for their protection and sustainable use. EU Member States report on the conservation status and trends in targeted habitats every 6 years.
Figure 1 shows the results of 818 assessments of the conservation status of habitats at EU level for the period 2013-2018. Only 15 % of habitat assessments have a good conservation status and 81 % indicate an unfavourable conservation status: 45 % poor and 36 % bad. Looking at the unfavourable conservation status trends, only 9 % show improvement, while 36 % continue to deteriorate at the EU scale. For more information see the report, State of Nature in the EU.
Of the habitat groups that were reported on, over 50 % of dune habitats and bog, mire, and fen habitats, have a bad conservation status, closely followed by grasslands at 49 %. These habitats also have the highest proportion of deteriorating trends (each over 50 %), while forest habitats exhibit the highest proportion of improving trends (13 %). For more information see the report, State of Nature in the EU.
Across the different terrestrial biogeographical regions, the proportion of habitat assessments with good conservation status is highest in the Steppic region (72 %) and lowest in the Atlantic region (only 4 %).
Results of reporting under the Habitats Directive are also used to assess the progress made towards Targets 1 and 3 of the EU Biodiversity strategy to 2020. Target 1 aims at improving the conservation status of EU protected species and habitats by 2020. This target has not been reached for habitats: a 12 % gap remains to be closed. Target 3 aims to optimise the benefits of agriculture and forestry for biodiversity. No real progress has been made towards reaching this target for agriculture: 46 % of Annex 1 assessments of agricultural habitats have a bad conservation status, while assessments of forest habitats revealed that 31 % have a bad conservation status. The EEA publishes more information about progress to targets 1 and 3.