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.


Note:
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.

Data sources:

Amid a need for more accurate, up-to-date and harmonised data and monitoring on Europe’s valuable woodlands, the European Environment Agency and the European Commission today launched a new Forest Information System for Europe (FISE) which aims to become Europe’s knowledge hub to monitor the state, health and sustainability of Europe’s many forests.

Healthy forests, soils, seas and other ecosystems form Europe’s ‘natural capital’, which is vital for our well-being and the economy. The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) new analysis, published today, looks at how to measure the condition of Europe’s natural capital and provides a first overview of the state and trends of Europe’s ecosystems. The report also highlights the need for better data on the condition of ecosystems in Europe.

Maintaining natural capital is vital for the function of our societies and people’s well-being. A new briefing from the European Environment Agency (EEA), published today, analyses how to plan for green infrastructure and ecosystem restoration, which in turn can enhance biodiversity, support green economy and create job opportunities.

Published: 22 May 2019

Maintaining 'natural capital', i.e. ecosystems and the services they provide, is fundamental to human economic activity and well-being. The need to conserve and enhance natural capital is therefore an explicit policy target in the EU's Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and its Seventh Environment Action Programme. Approaches to measuring the stocks of natural resources that yield benefits as natural capital have gained considerable traction in recent decades. By providing regular, objective data that are consistent with wider statistical data, natural capital accounting can provide the fundamental evidence base required for informing economic and environmental decision making that delivers on these ambitions for natural capital.

Published: 27 Mar 2019

Green infrastructure is a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas, which include other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services. These include water purification, air quality, space for recreation and climate mitigation and adaptation. This network of green (land) and blue (water) spaces can improve environmental conditions and therefore citizens' health and quality of life. It also supports a green economy, creates job opportunities and enhances biodiversity. To maximise the benefits it provides, GI should be an essential component of spatial and physical planning. Developing GI is a key step towards successfully implementing the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy. Target 2 of the strategy requires that ‘by 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15 % of degraded ecosystems.’

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