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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.

Knowledge and data

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

Overview

We all depend on nature for food, energy, raw materials, air and water. This natural capital makes life possible and drives our economy. The EU is committed to protect Europe's natural capital and rich biodiversity.

To halt biodiversity loss in the EU by 2020 and in line with our international commitments, the EU biodiversity strategy sets out 6 targets and outlines precisely how we can achieve these objectives. 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 network of protected areas in the world. Known as Natura 2000, it stretches across all the Member States and covers over 18% of the EU’s land area. In 2012, we launched the Natura 2000 biogeographical process to encourage cooperation and make sure that protection measures can be tailored to suit specific regional needs. We also invest in the protection of species facing particular threats.

But protected natural areas cannot thrive in isolation. We have a strategy to connect these natural areas using green infrastructure to restore the health of ecosystems and allow species to thrive across their entire natural habitat. Healthy ecosystems can also help us cope with the impact of climate change. To protect native biodiversity and ecosystem services, 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.

Find out why we need to protect the EU biodiversity.

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

News and events

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, and explore the potential for a Trans-European Network for Green Infrastructure (TEN-G).

 

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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