Biodiversity in Europe is coming under increasing pressure. This is primarily due to agriculture, forestry, further urbanization and pollution on the continent. This is evident from the report ‘State of nature in the EU (2012-2018)’ of the European Environment Agency (EEA), an institution of the European Union. Dunes, grasslands, marshes and peatlands are particularly under severe pressure.
Much effort is being made in the field of environmental conservation in almost all European member states. Yet hundreds of habitats and plant, bird and animal species are currently under threat in Europe. The EEA reports this. The agency states that more needs to be done to maintain or restore habitats and species in good “conservation” status.
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Need for fundamental change
The report cites various causes for the further deterioration. In addition to the above factors, aggressive alien species, climate change, changes in the water level of rivers due to, for example, dams, and illegal hunting and fishing are said to have played a role.
The EEA therefore argues that we need to produce and consume food in a different way, manage forests and change the way of life in cities. Only in this way can the well-being of people and European nature be assured in the future.
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Pessimistic about habitats
The report does not bode well for the state of habitats in the EU. Currently, barely 15 percent are in good conservation status, while no less than 81 percent of habitats are in poor or poor condition. Grasslands, dunes and swamp, mud and peat habitats in particular show strongly deteriorating trends, the report says.
Birds and reptiles
In addition, almost half (47 percent) of the 463 bird species in the EU are in good condition. That is 5 percent less compared to the previous study period between 2008 and 2012. In addition, the share of birds with a bad or appalling status has increased by 7 percent, to about 39 percent.
Reptiles have the largest proportion of species in good conservation status, as much as 35 percent.