Europe’s landscape has been shaped by centuries of diverse farming and forestry traditions.
This has resulted in a wide range of agricultural and woodland landscapes and significantly
contributed to the continent’s biodiversity. In addition, the EU’s Outermost Regions and Europe’s
Overseas Countries and Territories are situated in five biodiversity hotspots, including areas that host over 20% of the world’s coral reefs and lagoons, and 70% of the EU’s biodiversity.
Biodiversity loss is an enormous challenge in the EU, with Europe’s species richness currently highly threatened by human activities. Progress has been made on a number of fronts: certain populations and distributions of wildlife species are showing positive trends, with some species that were once at risk of extinction now stabilising or even increasing. The Birds and Habitats Directives, the cornerstone of the EU’s nature policies, have clearly helped bird species and some large carnivore species to
recover in Europe, which is encouraging.
However, many of Europe’s ecosystems are now so heavily degraded that their ability to deliver valuable ecosystem services has been drastically reduced. The EU Biodiversity Strategy adopted in 2011 is part of a 2050 vision aiming to protect, value and restore biodiversity and the services it provides – its natural capital.
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