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The main causes of biodiversity loss are changes in natural habitats. These are mostly due to: intensive agricultural production systems and land abandonment; construction and transport (fragmentation); overexploitation of forests, oceans, rivers, lakes and soils; invasion of alien species; pollution; and — increasingly — climate change. For any policy to be effective in maintaining and restoring biodiversity in Europe, it must address these threats.

Habitat loss — a major concern

Habitat loss 70 % of species are threatened by the loss of their habitat (IUCN). Farmland birds declined by 20–25 % between 1990 and 2007 (Eurostat, 2010).


Overexploitation —  more sustainability needed

Overexploitation 30 % of species are threatened by overexploitation (IUCN). For instance: 88 % of stocks are being fished beyond Maximum Sustainable Yields (ICES, 2008) and 46 % outside safe biological limits, which means that stocks  may not be replenished (EEA, 2010).


Pollution — improvements in some areas

Pollution Despite improvements in some areas, 26 % of species are threatened by pesticides, and fertilisers like nitrates and phosphates (IUCN).


Invasive alien species — an increasing phenomenon

Invasive species 22 % of species are threatened by invasive alien species (IUCN).


Climate change

Shifts in habitats and species distribution are being observed, so is desertification. Climate change interacts and often exacerbates other threats.


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