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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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The European Union’s (EU) network of protected sites, Natura 2000, could be further connected with green infrastructure to create a trans-European nature network. According to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today, highways and other infrastructure currently disconnect about 15 % of the Natura 2000 sites from other nature areas, reducing their capacity for ecosystem services.

Faced with the increased threats posed by overexploitation of marine resources, pollution and climate change, urgent action is needed to bring Europe’s seas back to good condition. According to the European Environment Agency’s report on Europe’s marine ecosystems, published today, we are running out of time to reverse decades of neglect and misuse.

No matter where we are, we can all appreciate the wonders of nature, now possibly more than ever. This year’s European Environment Agency (EEA) photo competition ‘REDISCOVER Nature’, which opens today, invites you to capture and share your bond with nature and the environment around you.

Published: 02 Jul 2020

Despite a strong policy framework and significant efforts by Member States (MSs) to halt biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation in Europe, the conservation status of protected species and habitats continues to decline along with the provision of ecosystem services. The new EU biodiversity strategy to 2030 addresses this decline with a plan to ‘build a truly coherent Trans-European Nature Network’. This will be built on the existing Natura 2000 network by analysing the potential connectivity between Natura 2000 sites using green infrastructure (GI) landscape elements important for delivering ecosystem services.

Published: 25 Jun 2020

This report provides a set of key messages on the current use of Europe's seas and its combined effects on marine ecosystem condition. These messages underpin a set of lessons from marine ecosystem recovery from which solutions for a brighter future can be identified.

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