© Wild Wonders of Europe /Konrad Wothe / WWF
Biodiversity
Despite world-leading nature laws, European biodiversity continues to plummet.
Biodiversity is fundamental to both planet and people. It provides us with clean air and water, food and medicines. But biodiversity is in crisis. Only 23% of species and 16% of habitats under the EU Nature Directives are in good health.

Habitat loss and fragmentation, unsustainable agriculture and climate change are leading drivers of biodiversity loss in the EU. In May 2020, the European Commission released the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030. This strategy, along with the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, is a potential game changer for EU nature, food and farming policies. The strategies propose a new wave of essential and long overdue targets on topics such as protected areas, restoration of nature, organic farming and the reduction of agricultural chemicals.

At the core of the EU’s biodiversity policy are the EU Birds and Habitats Directives which underpin the world’s first and largest international network of protected areas, Natura 2000. It covers about 18% of the EU's land and over 9% of its seas.

But Europe’s ecosystems are rapidly deteriorating and climate change is only making things worse. To bend the curve of nature loss, protecting remaining natural places, while key, will not be sufficient – large scale nature restoration needs to become a legal requirement for all EU Member States. This is why WWF is advocating for the upcoming EU nature restoration law to be ambitious and timely.

The EU's role in protecting biodiversity does not stop at its borders - it is also one of the biggest importers of wildlife species and wildlife-derived commodities in the world, some of which are illegally imported and traded within the Union, with devastating on the environment, but also security, governance, the economy, and ultimately human lives. WWF, therefore, works on strengthening the EU and Member States’ response to wildlife crime

There's no more time to lose

We need to bring Europe’s nature back!
The EU must put forward a legally binding restoration initiative to
benefit people, nature, and the climate.


Sabien Leemans
Senior Policy Officer, Biodiversity

@SabienLeemans

© Fritz Pölking / WWF
What WWF is doing
WWF is committed to protecting all of Europe’s unique wildlife and biodiversity, in particular in WWF European priority regions, the Mediterranean and the Greater Black Sea Basin. We work to ensure that the EU and its Member States:
 
Now that the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 is released, WWF will work to ensure the European Parliament and the European Council support the objectives of the strategy and its implementation. along with sufficient financial support. WWF is also advocating for a strong EU leadership position at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP in 2021 to lead the way in a New Deal for Nature and People to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.

Contacts

Sabien Leemans
Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer
+32 486 80 04 37
@SabienLeemans
 

Aleksandra Miklasinska
Communications Officer, Biodiversity

Our latest biodiversity news
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Nature restoration: The missing piece in the EU climate action puzzle

Restoring degraded terrestrial habitats across the EU could take up to 300 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent out of the atmosphere each year – as much as the combined annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, reveals a new study commissioned by WWF. The findings show the huge climate action potential of the upcoming EU Nature Restoration Law.

WWF is calling on the European Commission to propose a target of at least 15% of land and sea to be restored by 2030 both at the EU and Member State level. In addition, WWF is advocating for 15% of rivers to be restored to a free-flowing status in 2030 by removing physical barriers like dams. A target for CO₂ removal by natural sinks, as a separate target from the EU 2030 emissions reduction targets, should also be included.

 

Beauties of nature

There are many beautiful natural areas and species in Europe. Among them are the wolf, the lynx, the bear and the loggerhead turtle. They are all protected under the EU Birds and Habitats Directive but major threats still exist. Learn about Europe's most iconic beauties of nature and how you can help protect them.

European wolf, Sweden 
© Staffan Widstrand / WWF
© Staffan Widstrand / WWF