In Europe, vital laws called the EU Birds and Habitats Directives protect our most precious beauties of nature. They form the backbone of nature conservation in Europe and have led to the establishment of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, covering 18% of Europe’s land and 6% of its seas.
What we achieved so far?
In July 2015 over 520,000 people spoke up to save the nature laws in the European Commission's public consultation. This was the biggest number ever reached in the history of the EU. Following this, a group of progressive EU governments and the EU Parliament joined our call. Your voice was heard!
On 7 December 2016 the EU Commission announced it will not revise the Directives but develop an action plan to improve their implementation. This is a big win for nature and everyone who was supporting Nature Alert campaign.
Now we need to make sure that in 2017 the European Commission and our national governments decide on strong actions to ensure effective protection on the ground and to tackle harmful activities like unsustainable agriculture and energy developments.
Whales, bears, eagles, butterflies… We have some amazing wildlife in Europe. However, 60% of animals and plans and 70% of their homes are at risk.
And the trend is expected to continue: increasing demands for space, water, energy and food are threatening unique species and irreplaceable natural ecosystems, like forests, lakes, rivers and seas. The underlying threats, like infrastructure development, intensive agriculture, and urbanization – are not being properly tackled.
The laws at the heart of Europe’s nature conservation – the Birds and Habitats Directives – are vital if we want to stop the loss of nature and build a sustainable future for us and our children.
Thanks to these laws, endangered species like the Iberian Lynx, the wolf and the brown bear are reappearing in our landscapes again.
But now this progress is under threat because politicians could weaken the laws that protect these places and species. We need to tell them to maintain these strong laws in order to keep nature.
Nature doesn’t have any boundaries – protected wildlife habitats or migrating birds are often found across national borders. This is why having common European nature protection makes sense. Europe has the largest network of protected areas in the world – Natura 2000 – a patch work of unique wildlife and habitats that covers 18% of Europe’s land and 4% of its marine area.
Natura 2000 is the place where people and nature can live and prosper together. This is a forward-thinking way of doing nature conservation, and if properly managed it allows man to live in harmony with nature.
Find your closest Natura2000 site!
Nature is good for us. It is the foundation for life and provides numerous benefits to us and our economy:
• Nature contributes to our health and well-being
• Nature is the ideal space for recreation where we can feel truly alive
• It provides us free clean water and air, and fertile soils for our food
• We can do millions of jobs related to nature
The awe-inspiring view from the top of a mountain. A walk in silent woods. An unexpected encounter with a wild animal.
These are the moments that make us feel truly alive. Moments when we realize how lucky we are to live in a country that has places where people and nature can still thrive together. Today more and more of us are able to experience moments like these – because nature is living and starting to thrive again, in pockets of protected land across Europe. But now this progress is under threat because the laws that protect these places could be weakened.
Explore European nature and find the natural area closest to you on the map!
Responding to the ongoing fires in Doñana National Park, Juan Carlos del Olmo, CEO WWF-Spain, said...26 Jun 2017 Read more »
WWF is deeply concerned by Polish environment minister Jan Szyszko’s reported call for the ancient Białowieża Forest to be stripped of UNESCO's ...22 Jun 2017 Read more »
Unprecedented pressure from tourism and ill-planned construction threaten to impact park’s waters and biodiversity.22 Jun 2017 Read more »
WWF welcomes yesterday’s decision by EU Member states to approve the inclusion of 12 new species to the EU’s “List of Invasive Alien Species of Union ...22 Jun 2017 Read more »