Ecosystems and habitats
The ecosystem concept describes the interrelationships between living organisms and the nonliving environment. The CBD defines an "ecosystem" as a "dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit". The ecosystem approach aims at an integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way.
Due to its physical geography and the long history of cultural development Europe harbours a huge variety of ecosystems. Given the inherent complexities of the ecosystem approach the following links provide information on the major broad ecosystem types:
In the fields of nature conservation and biodiversity the common meaning of the term ‘habitat’ is a group of animals and plants in association with their environment. Habitats considered by experts to require particular attention at a European scale are covered by the EU Habitats Directive. There are currently 233 habitat types listed on Annex I of the Habitats Directive.
Figures from the EU 2010 Biodiversity Baseline
- The Habitats Directive – celebrating 20 years of protecting biodiversity in Europe
- Description of habitat types listed in the Annex of the Habitats Directive (ETC/BD)
- Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES)
- Soils: The state of soils in Europe (incl. map on threats to soil biodiversity)
- Soils: European Atlas of Soil Biodiversity (JRC)