People are losing the “vital life support system” as “81 percent of protected habitats in the EU are in poor condition”, Virginijus Sinkevičius, Lithuania’s delegate to the European Commission, said in a press release.
On Monday, the EC presented the State of Nature assessment, “the most comprehensive health check of nature ever undertaken in the EU”, according to Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.
According to the report, the decline of protected habitats and species continues, which if not addressed, will inevitably result in the continued erosion of our biodiversity and the vital services it provides, putting human health and prosperity at risk.
The assessment shows that while there are protected species and habitats that are managing to hold the line despite being subject to major pressure, the majority have poor or bad status at EU level, with some showing continued deteriorating trends.
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Among species, birds that are closely associated with agriculture continue to decline, while freshwater fish have the highest proportion of bad conservation status (38 percent) primarily due to changes to waterbodies and water-flow and hydropower installations.
Among habitats, only 15 percent of them are in good condition. Restoration of peatlands and other wetlands can deliver nature benefits, but also significantly contribute to addressing climate change, creating employment opportunities in rural and peripheral areas.
Every six years, EU member states report on the conservation status and trends of species and habitat types protected under the EU Directives.
According to the EU, the report provides an analysis of data on status and trends related to all wild bird species occurring in the bloc (460 species), 233 habitat types and almost 1400 other wild plants and animals of European interest.