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. Sadly, right now the European Commission is considering undermining these laws, undoing years of progress.
WWF is calling on EU national ministers and the EU Commission to maintain the laws and ensure Europe’s beautiful nature is effectively protected against the negative impacts of unsustainable agriculture, energy and transport infrastructures. The final decision on the future of Europe’s wildlife is expected by the end of 2016.
Follow our campaign and learn more about Europe’s beauties of nature as the wolf, the lynx, the bear and the loggerhead turtle.
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See also our joint NGO campaign Nature Alert.
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!
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!
98% of offshore waters remain unprotected under Natura 2000, Europe’s key conservation network.26 Sep 2016 Read more »
Europe’s historic Doñana National Park could be added to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger unless immediate action is taken against multiple ...15 Sep 2016 Read more »
Today WWF distributed organic honey to Commissioners and DGs Agriculture and Environment to remind that nature, agriculture and economy can work hand ...08 Sep 2016 Read more »
In February 2016, a brown bear got caught in an illegal snare in the forests of Vrancea, in the eastern part of Romania. This might have been the end ...24 Jul 2016 Read more »