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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:

Collection and treatment of waste water are key to reducing pressures and risks to human health and the environment, especially to rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published data today, on World Toilet Day, which show that the share of urban waste waters that are collected and treated in line with EU standards is increasing across Europe.

The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) work and other assessments have shown that European ecosystems are under serious threat. Centuries of exploitation have left their mark on Europe’s natural world and most protected habitats and species are not in good conservation status. The EEA Signals 2021, published today, presents an overview of the problems Europe’s nature is facing and points to strategies to reverse the situation.

European water bodies suffer from agricultural pollution as well as pollution from insufficiently treated waste water from cities, industry and scattered dwellings, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report, published today. Artificial barriers, together with navigation, abstraction, aquaculture, and invasive alien species cause additional pressures. However, solutions to tackle the problems exist and should be more widely adopted.

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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