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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

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Publication | 20 October 2020

Latest evaluation shows Europe's nature in serious, continuing decline

Unsustainable farming and forestry, urban sprawl and pollution are the top pressures to blame for a drastic decline in Europe’s biodiversity, threatening the survival of thousands of animal species and habitats. Moreover, European Union (EU) nature directives and other environmental laws still lack implementation by Member States. Most protected habitats and species are not in good conservation status and much more must be done to reverse the situation, according to the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) ‘State of nature in the EU’ report, published today.

Biodiversity

Top threats to nature

Intensive agriculture, urban sprawl and unsustainable forestry activities are the top reported pressures to habitats and species, the EEA report says. Pollution of air, water and soil also impacts habitats, as does continued over-exploitation of animals through illegal harvesting and untenable hunting and fishing.

These threats are compounded by alterations to rivers and lakes, such as dams and water abstraction, invasive alien species, and climate change. Abandonment of agricultural land contributes to the continued decline of semi-natural habitats, like grasslands, and their species, like butterflies and farmland birds.