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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 38 countries of Eionet.

Data sources:

What is the carbon storage and sequestration potential of Europe’s many land and marine habitats? A first scoping analysis, published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA), found that forests and wetlands can play an important role in storing carbon but doing so should take account of potential impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Today, the European Commission together with the European Environment Agency (EEA), are publishing a data tool — MapMyTree — for all organisations to join the pledge of planting three billion additional trees by 2030, register and map their planted trees to count the EU target. As part of the European Green Deal, the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 commits to planting at least 3 billion additional trees in the EU by 2030, in full respect of ecological principles. This would increase the EU forest area and resilience, enhance biodiversity, and help with climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Pesticides can end up in rivers, lakes and groundwaters, with potential to harm aquatic ecosystems and water quality. The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) new indicator, which aims to track Europe’s progress in reducing pesticides in waters, shows that excessive levels of pesticides have been recorded in a considerable share of European freshwaters.

Published: 30 Sep 2021

Why do we need decisive action now to protect nature? What is at stake and how can we tackle the biodiversity crisis?

Published: 20 Apr 2021

Europe's seas are precious. Our quality of life, livelihoods and economies depend on them being in good condition. Our seas are home to many species, habitats and ecosystems. They also provide our societies with vital ecosystem services, including food, energy, clean air and climate change mitigation. However, through the continued unsustainable use of Europe’s seas, we have altered their physio-chemical environment, and their habitats and ecosystems. The resilience of our seas is eroding, while their ecosystems, habitats and biodiversity, and the services they provide are under significant threat. This briefing summarises the current state of biodiversity in Europe’s seas.

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