Nature and biodiversity

Nature and biodiversity

Biodiversity is the wide variety of animals, plants, their habitats and their genes, and it is vital to countless human activities. Much of Europe's biodiversity is protected by Natura 2000, a vast network of protected natural areas.


Latest articles

This autumn has seen two dramatic wake-up calls from scientists about the future of our planet. The IPCC special report on 1.5˚C and WWF’s Living...


In July, the European Commission stepped up its fight against ivory trafficking and elephant poaching, with new, tighter rules on the export of raw ivory from Europe. It is now inviting individuals and organisations to submit their views on what more the EU should do to...


The EU offers a framework to protect biodiversity, wildlife and nature that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Now, following a ‘fitness check’ of its Birds and Habitats Directives, a new Action Plan aims to ensure these fully deliver on protecting nature, improving the quality of...


Many young Europeans are concerned about the future of the environment. The European Solidarity Corps, a new EU volunteering scheme will offer young Europeans the opportunity to transform their passion and goodwill into meaningful action. 


According to a comprehensive Commission evaluation, bird populations, other protected species and natural habitats in Europe would be much worse off without protection from the Birds and Habitats Directives. While the Directives are fit for purpose, their implementation needs to be better and...


CITES is a global agreement designed to stop the illegal trafficking of wild plants and animals. At the last meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Johannesburg, for the first time the European Union took part as full member with full voting rights....


Six outstanding environmental projects from across Europe collected the EU’s prestigious Natura 2000 Awards this year.


Invasive alien species are a serious and growing problem across the European Union. They are a major cause of biodiversity loss, inflicting economic and social damage that costs the European economy over EUR 12 billion per year.


After making his name as an international film star in the 1960s, Frenchman Jacques Perrin has dedicated much of his professional life over almost three decades to producing a series of remarkable wildlife documentaries.


Wildlife trafficking has become one of the most profitable activities for global organised crime networks. It decimates biodiversity, fuels corruption and threatens economic development in some of the world’s poorest regions. The EU has published a five-year Action Plan to address the problem.


A mid-term review of the EU's Biodiversity Strategy released in October underlines the need for increased efforts to halt biodiversity loss by 2020.


By joining CITES, a global agreement designed to halt the illegal trafficking of wild plants and animals, the EU is doing its bit to protect more than 35 000 endangered and iconic species.


The latest State of Nature in the EU report reveals the conservation status of plants, animals and habitats across the European Union. It looks at the impact of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, and whether the EU is on track to meet its target to halt the loss of biodiversity and the...


A recent conference considered the achievements of the EU’s strategy on green infrastructure, such as restored wetlands acting as both flood defences and biodiversity reserves. But there is a need for more investment to make the most of the economic and environmental benefits of such projects.


Domesticated bees are a familiar sight, and the threats facing honey bees are often in the news. But wild bees too are increasingly at risk. A new study of the status of all 1965 bee species in Europe hints that falling populations may be more widespread than we imagine.


To protect the world’s natural resources, countries need to work together. Representatives from all over the world used the recent 12th Conference of the Parties ('COP 12') meeting to assess progress.


When animals, plants or micro-organisms are introduced into a natural environment where they are not normally found, they can disturb native fauna and flora, causing damage costing millions of euros. A new EU Regulation to combat the problem of ‘invasive alien species’ comes into force in January...


In many parts of Europe, people share their land and lives with bears, wolves and lynx. On 10 June 2014, the European Commission hosted the launch of the ‘EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores’.


The five winners of the European Commission’s first-ever Natura 2000 Award celebrated their success at a prize-giving ceremony in Brussels on 21 May.


The Nagoya Protocol is an international agreement on access to genetic resources – such as potential new drugs that may lie hidden in plant DNA – and the fair and equitable sharing of their benefits. The European Council has adopted legislation to implement this agreement and given formal approval...


Europeans are strong believers in nature conservation. However, many are unaware of the things the EU is doing to protect our environment and biodiversity. The Commission has launched a new Natura 2000 Award to recognise excellence in nature conservation in the EU – and to increase public awareness...


Whether as trade in rhino horn, tiger skins and ivory, or illegal fishing and poaching, wildlife trafficking is on the increase. The new scale of the problem and its links to organised crime and political corruption mean that new measures are needed to address it. The European Commission has launched...


Invasive alien species (IAS) are one of the most important causes of biodiversity loss, damage to ecosystem services and threats to fragile ecosystems, such as islands. They can also harm human health and the economy. To prevent and tackle the destruction they wreak, the Commission has proposed...


European legislation that came into force six years ago has made the use of chemicals in the European Union considerably safer, according to a new Commission report. While noting that improvements can still be made in the implementation of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction...


In October 2010, the global community adopted the ‘Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization’. This new treaty, which is a Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity, sets out clear rights and obligations of...


Just over two years ago in Nagoya, Japan, the international community adopted an ambitious programme to protect biological diversity. Now, the emphasis is on turning the commitments into reality. Good progress towards achieving this was made in Hyderabad, India, in mid-October 2012.


Natura 2000 is the cornerstone of EU biodiversity policy. As establishment of the Natura 2000 network nears completion, the priority now is to make it fully operational by effectively managing and restoring the areas concerned. While the primary responsibility lies with Member States, the Commission...


The European Red List is a periodic assessment of the conservation status of some 6 000 species, determining whether they are threatened with extinction in Europe, so that conservation measures can be taken to reverse the trend. Primarily funded by the European Commission, it is part of a wider...


Just months after the world agreed an ambitious global agenda in Nagoya to stem biodiversity loss, the European Union is finalising its own detailed strategy for the coming decade. This builds on the progress made and lessons learnt from the previous EU biodiversity action plan. It is one of the...