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.
The Birds and Habitats Directives are the pillars of our nature legislation. New laws now tackle specific issues such as invasive alien species.
The world's largest network of protected areas, it offers a haven to Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats.
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.
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The Natura 2000 Award 2016 finalists have been announced. The application with the highest number of votes will receive the EU Citizen's Award. Vote for your favourite now!