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Nature and biodiversity

Biodiversity Strategy

We aim to halt biodiversity loss in the EU and help stop global biodiversity loss by 2020. Here is how we intend to protect the natural capital essential to our health and our economy.

Nature and biodiversity law

The Birds and Habitats Directives are the pillars of our nature legislation. New laws now tackle specific issues such as invasive alien species.

Natura 2000

The world's largest network of protected areas, it offers a haven to Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats.

Species protection

We aim to protect all animal and plant species facing particular threats in Europe and work with CITES to fight illegal wildlife trade across the world.

Green infrastructure

The EU promotes nature-based solutions as a cost-effective alternative to traditional infrastructure. It's good for society, the economy and the environment.

Knowledge and data

Tap into our resources for reporting, databases, maps and publications.

Overview

We all depend on nature for our food, air, water, energy and raw materials. Nature and biodiversity make life possible, provide health and social benefits and drive our economy. Healthy ecosystems can also help us cope with the impacts of climate change.
However, natural ecosystems and their vital services are under pressure from urban sprawl, intensive agriculture, pollution, invasive species and climate change. In line with our international commitments, the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The strategy sets out 6 targets and 20 actions to achieve these objectives by 2020. EU nature legislation, most notably the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive, forms the backbone of biodiversity policy and the legal basis for our nature protection network.

Over the last 25 years we have built the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world, which is one of the outstanding EU achievements. Known as Natura 2000, it stretches across all Member States and currently covers over 18% of the EU’s land area and more than 6% of its seas territories. The Natura 2000 biogeographical process encourages cooperation and makes sure that protection measures can be tailored to suit specific regional needs. We also work to protect species facing particular threats.
But protected natural areas cannot thrive in isolation. We have a strategy to connect these areas using green infrastructure to restore ecosystem services and allow species to thrive across their entire habitat. To protect native biodiversity, we also seek to address the problem of invasive alien species. Natural Capital Accounting provides an approach for quantifying our natural capital and integrating this into decision making.

For questions and comments, please write to nature@ec.europa.eu.

 

News and events

27-04-2017: The European Commission has adopted a new Action Plan to improve the protection of nature and biodiversity in the EU, for the benefit of its citizens and the economy.

 

A Conference on 'Evidence-based planning for greener cities' on 13 June 2017 in Paola, Malta will discuss how science and the mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services can inform city planning and policy-making, in order to improve urban quality of life. The conference is organised by the 'EnRoute' project of the European Commission in cooperation with the Maltese Presidency of the EU and the Maltese Institute of Applied Sciences, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. Follow the links to view the draft agenda or to register. For possible questions, please contact JRC-ENROUTE-PROJECT@ec.europa.eu.

 

A new external study report released by the European Commission provides an overview of ecosystem restoration activities in different Member States, sectors and habitats across the EU. Promotion of ecosystem restoration in the context of the EU biodiversity Strategy to 2020'

 

A new report on "Supporting the implementation of Green Infrastructure" presents the outputs of a contract commissioned by DG Environment which aims to promote GI, build capacity for its deployment, improve information exchange, assess technical standards and innovation opportunities.

 

A new study on the Health and social benefits of nature published by DG Environment provides evidence of the relationship between public health and nature, the socio-economic benefits of protecting biodiversity and the different approaches being used across the EU.

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