Nature protection and restoration

Nature protection and restoration

Many vital species, habitats and ecosystems in Europe are threatened by urban sprawl, unsustainable farming and forestry, and pollution. Roads, railways, urban areas and agricultural land fragment Europe’s landscape, hindering the movement of species.

According to the EEA’s report State of Nature in the EU 2020, only 15% of Europe’s habitats and 27% protected species are in a good conservation status. We need an overhaul of our key systems, including agriculture and production, in order to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity and ensure that nature continues to provide vital ecosystem services.

EU nature directives—such as the Birds and the Habitats Directives—offer protection to around 2000 species and habitats. At the heart of EU conservation efforts is the EU’s Natura 2000 network of protected areas, which currently makes up 18% of the EU’s land area and 10% of its marine territory.

Nature protection needs to be complemented by nature restoration efforts, through actions such as removing barriers on rivers and rewilding. To this end, the European Commission has proposed a Nature Restoration Law.

A healthy natural environment can also provide us solutions. Some of the impacts of climate change, such as heat islands and urban flooding, can be mitigated through nature-based solutions, including green spaces in cities.

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