According to the latest assessment of nature published by the European Commission, Europe’s wildlife remains in deep crisis. The mid-term review of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy suggests that progress towards many of key targets for the restoration of wildlife that were established at the beginning of this decade has been very limited. In response the RSPB is urging the European Commission to take concerted action in order to reverse the decline in number of species.
One bright spot
There was one positive note in the report which was the European Union’s nature directives have been successful and are helping to provide the foundation for favourable conservation status for a number of species that face threats including birds of prey such as the Mediterranean monk seal and the Dalmatian pelican.
The findings of the European Commission Review match the warnings given by RSPB earlier in the year. In June RSPB published a report in collaboration with BirdLife Europe that basically suggested there was an ecological crisis threatening wildlife and we need to do more particularly for those species that depend on agricultural habitats across the EU. There has been a large fall in the population of farm land birds in the EU since 1980 which shows no sign of reversing.
“This review sadly confirms our analysis that the EU’s formerly splendid wildlife tapestry is becoming increasingly threadbare, with many of the greatest holes appearing because of intensive agriculture. We remain anxious that Europe is not on track to protect its wildlife treasures. However, the review does confirm that when the Birds and Habitats Directives are properly implemented they play a pivotal role in the recovery of threatened species.” Martin Harper the RSPB’s Conservation Director said.
Still possible to save the day
The RSPB and its partner BirdLife Europe are asking the European Commission to understand how important the directives within the Commission’s Fitness Check are. This is a process which undertakes a periodic review of how effective the laws are. Mr. Harper adds that time is running out to save Europe’s nature. There is however still a little time remaining to address Europe’s erosion of nature by providing incentives for more sustainable and environmentally friendly forms of farming.