On 4 December 2019 the European Environment Agency (EEA) has published their regular annual ‘State of the Environment’ report. The main message of the report is that Europe will not achieve its 2030 goals without urgent action during the next 10 years to address the alarming rate of biodiversity loss, increasing impacts of climate change and the overconsumption of natural resources. Europe faces environmental challenges of unprecedented scale and urgency.
The main messages of the chapter on Biodiversity and nature is that “despite ambitious targets, Europe continues to lose biodiversity at an alarming rate and many agreed policy targets will not be achieved. Assessments of species and habitats protected under the Habitats Directive show predominantly unfavourable conservation status at 60 % for species and 77 % for habitats. Biodiversity loss is not confined to rare or threatened species. Long-term monitoring shows a continuing downward trend in populations of common birds and butterflies, with the most pronounced declines in farmland birds (32 %) and grassland butterflies (39 %).
There has been progress in some areas, such as the designation of protected areas: the EU Natura 2000 network now covers 18 % of the EU’s land area and almost 9 % of marine waters, making it the world’s largest network of protected areas.
Europe’s biodiversity and ecosystems face cumulative pressures from land use change, natural resource extraction, pollution, climate change and invasive alien species. These have a severe impact on ecosystem services — nature’s benefits to people — as illustrated by the recent alarming loss of insects, especially pollinators.”
A full report is available from the EEA website.