Denmark - Contribution to the mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 based on the 5th national report to CBD

To report on progress to the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy, the European Commission extracted relevant information from the EU Member States’ 5th national reports to the CBD. Of the 5 countries which had not finalized their national reports at the time of the synthesis (26th of August 2015), Greece, Malta, Portugal and Lithuania provided information to be included in the synthesis.

The 5th national reports were examined, and relevant information on selected actions under Targets 1-6 of the EU biodiversity strategy was directly copied. Thus, the information presented here is in the original language and wording of the 5th national reports.

The focus was on information that is particular to the respective Member State rather than referencing EU wide information. In addition, only information that is not directly reported to the European Commission by Member States was retrieved from the reports. Each Member State had the opportunity to review the synthesis of its report and to provide additional input. For more information, please view here. The 5th national report for Denmark can be downloaded here.

In addition to the country synthesis which is shown below, Denmark provided information on the cross-linkages between their national strategy and the European and global biodiversity targets.

EU target 1

Fully implement the Birds and Habitats Directives

(Please note that information from Member States in relation to Action 1a is supplied to the European Commission via other reports. To avoid duplication of reporting, information relating to Action 1a has not been included in this report)

Action 1b: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)

Biological diversity is integrated into a number of strategies and policies, and represents a central element of physical planning (see also chapter 1 and 2). Nature is one of the major elements of the government's new strategy for sustainable development "Sustainable development - development on balance” Consideration for biodiversity is integrated in several parts of the Danish legal and physical planning systems. There has been a special focus on integration of the requirements following from the Habitats and Birds Directives into the sector legislation

Data link:

Action 1c: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)

Presently, a first generation of Nature Plans for Nature 2000 areas (for the period 2009-2015) is under implementation and supports the achievements of several of the nature-related goals. Preparations for the second generation of nature plans for the period 2016-2020 are in progress. The first generation of River Basin Management Plans is adopted and will further contribute to the achievement of these. The plans include substantial nature restoration objectives and management measures.

Data link: [to be updated by the Member State] and

All Natura 2000 sites have management plans designed to halt the decline in biological diversity and to maintain and restore conservation status for species and habitats.  

Data link:

Denmark's obligation to protect and manage Natura 2000 sites in accordance with the EU Directives has resulted in six-year Natura 2000 plans for each individual Natura 2000 site (there is an exception for woodlands and forests protected by Danish protected forest regulations, which are managed through 12-years plans). The management plans were adopted (slightly delayed) in 2011.      

Natura 2000 planning processes are provided for by law. These plans are subject to wide public consultations and include a baseline analysis, long-term goals for the individual Natura 2000 area and a legally binding action program for the coming 6 years to be implemented by local and state authorities.

Strategy and actions

The first-generation Natura 2000 plans (for the period 2010-2015) stipulate first and foremost that initiatives are targeted to halt the decline in species and habitats indicated in their Natura 2000 designation. The basic initiatives are the first inevitable steps towards meeting the Directive's goal to secure or re-establish favourable conservation status. Standard initiatives comprise not only comprehensive management measures (grazing etc) but also "one-off" events, e.g. improved hydrology, reducing disturbances and taking steps to prevent the destruction of forest habitats and marine reefs.

The Natura 2000 plans for the first plan period (2010-2015) stipulate in all the following:

  • Management of about 130,000 hectares (grazing, mowing etc. - all registered open natural habitats including peripheral fragmented areas, etc.).
  • The restoration of natural hydrology to be established in a further 14-16,000 hectares (in particular raised bogs, fens and salt marshes).
  • 30-34,000 hectares will be cleared with a view to subsequent improvements of hydrology or in preparation for ongoing management (grazing etc.).
  • 20,000 hectares of forest are protected from felling, and extensive forestry is ensured (all registered forest areas). Initiatives will continue until the end of 2021.
  • Disturbances reduced for birds and marine mammals by establishing new or enlarged sanctuaries in 12 Natura 2000 sites.
  • Marine reefs will be protected from bottom-contacting gear (Fisheries Act).
  • Impact of ammonia will be reduced (Livestock approval legislation was toughened in 2011).

Further to this, substantial contribution to the restoration of conservation status will come from the River Basin Management Plans (reduction of nutrients leak and restoration of watercourses) which is especially relevant, as > 80 % of the Danish sites are aquatic, mainly marine. The next generation of River Basin Management Plans is launched for public consultation on 22 December 2014. Locam water councils have been involved in the drafting of the plans.

Measures for management and restoration include voluntary subsidy schemes under the auspices of the Rural Development Programme, establishing subsidies for grazing and cutting, to improve hydrology and to encourage more extensive forestry and protection of woodland habitats. A number of large nature restoration projects have been initiated and concluded. The allocation of financing for this active management of Natura 2000 sites following from the first generation of Natura 2000 plans was decided at a cost level of totally about DKK 1.8 billion. It is too early to evaluate the effect of the plans as implementation is ongoing.

Draft second-generation Natura 2000 plans (for the period 2016-2021) are launched for public consultation by 19nd December 2014, including further measures to support and improve the conservation status of species and habitats.

Action 2: Adequate financing of Natura 2000

Based on the Danish Parliament’s agreement on green growth from 2010 1,8 billion Dkr have been earmarked for financing for measures to support the achievement of the Natura 2000 conservation objectives in the first planning period. The financing comes mainly from the rural development funds and from the LIFE programme. Further to this the new Danish Nature Conservation Plan a national nature preservation foundation was established in 2014 with 500 mio DKK as a start capital from the government and additional private funding. Establishment of new nature areas will benefit the environment, the climate and flora and fauna. Decisions on the allocation of financing for the second generation of Natura 2000 management plans have been adopted.

Action 3a: Stakeholder awareness and enforcement

Information and involvement of stakeholders (public consultation) is an integrated part of the of the Natura 2000 management plan regime.

Action 3b: Stakeholder awareness and enforcement

In Denmark there is an ongoing open dialogue between the authorities, key stakeholder groups including farmers and fishermen and NGO’slocal authorities on nature protection including the management of Natura 2000 sites.

EU target 2

Maintain and restore ecosystems and their services

The River Basin Management Plans have as an overall target to reduce nitrate by 7800 tons by 2021 by different measures (wetlands, restoration of watercourses, stop for cultivation etc in special areas etc.). The designation of 25,000 ha with 9 metre-wide buffer zones along their edges in which pesticides, fertilisation and cultivation is banned along all watercourses and lakes with a surface area of over 100 m2 will contribute to the reduction.

Action 4a: Monitoring and reporting

A monitoring system for certain types of natural habitats and species is implemented (NOVANA)

Action 5: Knowledge of ecosystems and their services

A national project on ecosystem mapping and ecosystem assessing and accounting will be finalised by the end of 2015. A comprehensive registration of all sites subject to protection under paragraph 3 in the national Nature Protection Act will be completed in 2015. These areas will be further protected through prohibiting the use of pesticides and fertilizers. A pilot project has been conducted in 2014.

Data link:

Action 6a & 6b: Ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure

Further to the conservation, restoration and management of the Natura 2000 sites mentioned above, Denmark focuses heavily on the protection and conservation of existing biodiverse habitats and ecosystems, and a large element of existing efforts is aimed at retaining and improving them. Establishment of 25,000 hectares of pesticide, cultivation and fertiliser free buffer zones along watercourses and lakes, plus the establishment of wetlands and woods. Due to the Nature Plan Denmark a biodiversity map has been developed.

Data link:

In the new Danish Nature Conservation Plan further 25.000 hectares will be developed into nature areas including 3.400 hectares of forest. The Nature Strategy also focus on biodiversity in forests, and on improving/restoring biodiversity in state owned forests. All state owned forest is already managed through careful nature management.

Data link:

Denmark has designated a large number of protected sites at land and in the sea, following with the Natura 2000 programme. On land, over 9% of the total area is protected as Natura 2000 areas. 18% of territorial waters are protected.

Denmark focuses heavily on protection of habitats and ecosystems, and a large element of existing efforts is aimed at retaining and improving them.

[1] The Danish Government has noticed a service check of the former governments “Danish Nature Policy” (the national strategy on biodiversity). It is not decided (September 2015) which measures will be included in a revised nature policy.

EU target 3

Increase the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity

Action 8a: Environmental public goods in the CAP and GAEC cross-compliance

The development of more nature-friendly farming and organic farming has been promoted by financial subsidy schemes. 5 year environment and organic schemes have been promoted for management of grassland and natural areas, including 1-year subsidy schemes for extensive farming. Substantial parts of the schemes have been targeted to Natura 2000 sites.

The government has defined a target of doubling the existing area (by 2011) of organic farming before 2020. Today organic farming covers 7% of the agricultural areas.

Data link: [to be updated by the Member State]

Action 8b: Environmental public goods in the CAP and GAEC cross-compliance

A long-term target within forestry is the doubling of woodland areas within a tree generation, to extent the amount of afforested land to 20-25% of Denmark’s area. Further to this special forest protection schemes for Natura 2000 sites are developed.

A national forest programme will be launched early 2015. The programme will put focus on mapping and registration of valuable nature and rich biodiversity areas with the aim of maintaining these areas. All state owned forests have forest management plans. The planning ensures sustainable management and includes restoration and biodiversity concerns. In the new generation of management plans currently being developed a broad range of biodiversity projects are being implemented. The new Nature Strategy and the upcoming revision of the national forest program will ensure further actions on improving biodiversity in the state owned forests.

Action 8a & 8b: Environmental public goods in the CAP and GAEC cross-compliance

“Nature’s Day” is held every year and focuses on public awareness of nature and biodiversity. The initiative also includes education and is supported by private funds (5,3 mio DKK). Beside “Nature’s Day” other initiatives with a focus on public awareness such as “The Wild Flowers Day” and “The Biodiversity Day” are held. To promote public debate on nature and biodiversity, the Ministry of the Environment published "Biodiversity, a Public Issue" in 2011.

Denmark has established several schemes and regulations to reduce harmful subsidies and to provide positive economic incentives of importance for biodiversity.

Denmark's natural landscape areas represent 26% of the total, of which woodlands account for around 14%, but both types of area are on the increase.

Action 9a & 9b: Rural development and biodiversity

Specific subsidy schemes under the national Rural Development Programme have been set up for protection of threatened species living on open land and in woodland. Stewardship of 110,000 ha including clearing of 34,000 ha and creation of 11,000 ha natural waterlevel- The Nature Agency has set up an advisory scheme with information on the national subsidy schemes under the RDP, and a special campaign for highly endangered species was launched in early 2014

Data link:

The newly established national nature preservation foundation and Danish Nature Conservation Plan contribute to the establishment of more - and more coherent - natural landscapes, to restore natural habitats and to prevent further fragmentation of natural habitats.

Data link:

Denmark has decided to utilize funds from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (RDP) which contains several schemes for financing of nature management, nature restoration activities and for protection of threatened species.

Action 10: Agricultural genetic diversity

The state forests (18% of Denmark's total forest area) are managed based on near-natural principles, and certified to FSC and PEFC standards.

Denmark has ratified the FAO's international treaty on genetic plant resources for agriculture, and has signed the FAO’s Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources and the Interlaken Declaration.

Strategies for the preservation of plant and animal genetic resources are described in: The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries' action plan 2011-13 for agriculture's plant genetic resources, The Gene Resource Committee's strategy 2009-2012 for preservation of genetic resources for Danish livestock and in the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries bee breeding strategy 2009 – 2013.

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries has earmarked specific funds for the preservation of agriculture's genetic resources. Funds have also been obtained from other sources, such as via the ministry's agreement with Aarhus University on consultancy.

A gene preservation programme for trees and shrubs has been set up, to ensure the preservation and use of genetic resources. A total of 81 species are the subject of a network of preservation zones on the Nature Agency's areas, approx. 2900 ha have been registered as gene preservation zones, approx. 1550 ha are designated for seed supply, and around 32 seed nurseries have been set up through the Nature Agency's seed programme since 2000. A new national committee has been established for Conservation of Animal Genetic Resources and Rare Danish Breeds. The committee is to coordinate and take care of all genetic resources conservation activities, including a gene bank, breeder support and information activities. The committee has been tasked to develop a new national strategy for conservation of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture in 2014.

Data link:

Action 11a: Forest holders and biodiversity

"Woodland's Day" is held every year in private and public-owned woodlands, designed to increase awareness of the diversity of woodland, and sustainable exploitation of their resources. (The Danish Forest Association, private and public-owned woodland, supported by private funds).

Action 11b: Forest holders and biodiversity

The Green Growth Agreement from 2009 included the protection of 20,000 ha of particularly valuable woodland in Natura 2000 sites against felling and conversion.

State-owned forests have been tasked with ensuring natural values and biodiversity as a key operational objective. Areas of untouched woodland or traditional management have been designated, equivalent to around 12% of the state forests. According to the Danish Plan for Nature Conservation the state owned forest areas will be carefully managed to improved biodiversity i.a. through various measures. The state forests are being converted to close-to-nature management, including giving more consideration to nature, biodiversity, groundwater protection and recreation.

Data link:

Hunting is a popular pursuit/hobby in Denmark, and generates around DKK 88 million in licence fees, of which a large portion goes to financing programmes to conserve and improve specific species and natural landscapes. The 2004 Danish Woodlands Act was designed to promote sustainable forestry, including the preservation and increase of biological diversity. Along with certification of the state forests, the act means that Danish woodlands are run in a more sustainable manner now than 10 years ago to the benefit of biodiversity.

Action 12: Biodiversity in forest management plans

The majority of Danish woodlands are subject to a preservation order, protecting them against conversion to other purposes.

EU target 4

Ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources and ensuring good environmental status of the marine environment

13a: Fish stock management

Conservation status of important species of fish in Danish waters. Assessments are based on the volume of spawning biomass. (v) indicates that the spawning biomass exceeds the threshold required for good conservation status and (÷) indicates that biomass is under the required threshold. Grey indicates that we have insufficient data to assess conservation status or that there are no stock present in the waters.




Norway Pout






Common Sole

North Sea and Skagerrak

















Western part of the Baltic




14a: Adverse impacts on fish stocks, species, habitats and ecosystems

The Blue Reef Habitat Restoration Project has restored and protected a large reef (covering almost 7 hectares) at Læsø Trindel in a Natura 2000-designated area 11 kilometres north-east of the island of Læsø in northern Kattegat. An area of about 6 hectares of the pre-existing reef is now stabilised. 86,000 tons of rock were deposited on the reef during the project, which was completed in April 2013. The aim was to rehabilitate the reef and provide good living conditions for creatures living on the benthic (seabed-dwelling) algae and fish. Total numbers of seaweeds and fish as well as sessile and motile animals at three depth intervals and at all three depths totally were investigated at Læsø Trindel in 2007 and 2012. Animal species were divided into four sub-groups: sessile, motile, infauna and epifauna.

The total number of harbour seals in Danish waters based on aerial counts made in August. The figures for 1976-1978 are estimates (due to non-standard methods of counting). The figures stated for 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999 are the result of interpolation. Red arrows indicate epidemic years. Source: Henriksen et al. 2011

Distribution of porpoise in the period 1997-2007. The figure shows density of satellite-tracked porpoise. Green colour denotes porpoise from the population in inner Danish waters. Blue colour denotes porpoise from the North Sea population. There are black lines around high-density areas

14b: Adverse impacts on fish stocks, species, habitats and ecosystems

Denmark's Marine Strategy (2012) sets targets for good environmental status in the sea by 2020. Programmes will be defined in 2015.

EU target 5

Combat Invasive Alien Species

Denmark has concentrated for many years on combating invasive species through targeted campaigns at species level, more long-term management and the provision of information. Via the NOBANIS network, information on problem species on their way into the region is shared. Denmark therefore has a good idea of which species could be in the process of introducing themselves into the country. The Nature Agency runs regular information campaigns on invasive species and will conclude a project in 2014 that gives a detailed understanding of the spreading routes used by them. · An amendment to the Executive Order on combating giant hogweed (2009) means improved opportunities for effective eradication of this invasive species. Denmark became a signatory to the International Maritime Organisation's Ballast Water Convention in 2012, designed to reduce the discharge of invasive species from ship ballast water. Denmark's Marine Strategy sets targets concerning programmes to combat invasive species. Programmes will be defined in 2015.

EU target 6

Help avert global biodiversity loss

17a: Drivers of biodiversity loss

In 2013, the present government adopted a "Green Transition agreement” as part of the 2014 Finance Act. This agreement provides funds of DKK 200 mill. annually in 2014-2017 for development of environmentally friendly technologies, organic farming and other activities that can contribute to the green transition.

Negative incentives such as subsidies for draining have been removed from agricultural grant schemes, and subsidies for draining and building roads in woodlands under the woodland improvement scheme have been stopped.

Pesticide tax has been reallocated to stimulate the reduced use of those pesticides resulting in the highest load with respect to human health and the environment.

Specific subsidy schemes under the national Rural Development Programme have been set up for protection of threatened species living on open land and in woodland.

Denmark has established several schemes and regulations to reduce harmful subsidies and to provide positive economic incentives of importance for biodiversity. Among other endeavours Denmark is active in the EU negotiation on establishment of a greener subsidy system for the agricultural sector.

18a: Resources for global biodiversity conservation

Through its national contribution to IUCN, Denmark has provided financial support to the international TEEB programme (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity), which has helped create the scientific and practical foundation to be able to appreciate the value of natural resources with the aim of compiling green accounts and other measures. Financial support has been granted for the development of green national accounts in collaboration with the World Bank. Consideration for biological diversity and combating poverty is an integrated element in Danish foreign aid policies.

The latest Danish report to the Biodiversity Convention Secretariat on resource mobilisation for nature preservation purposes states and annual contribution of DKK 2.3 billion, equivalent to USD 390 million p.a. (average for 2006-2010). This amount corresponds to approx. DKK 410 per person per year, or 0.13% of GNAs such, Denmark's contribution per capita is one of the very highest compared to other developed nations. In addition, ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol plays a vital role, as implementation will facilitate benefit-sharing with the developing countries supplying the genetic resources for new medicines, enzymes, cosmetics etc.

Action 20: Access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits

Denmark has been one of the leading proponents for ratification of the Nagoya Protocol within the EU and internationally. We will continue to strive nationally, within the EU and globally to ensure the goal can be reached. Parliament passed a new law in December 2012 on regulation of the use of genetic resources from abroad by domestic consumers (businesses and scientists). The law is designed to protect developing countries from exploitation of their genetic resources from rainforests, coral reefs etc. for the development of medicines, enzymes, cosmetics, food products etc. without their prior consent or agreement on benefit-sharing.

The government has supported African countries in negotiations on the Nagoya Protocol, and continues to support focus on the development of good governance in this area in developing countries, with a subsidy of DKK 15 million for the period of 2013-2015. The subsidy is managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the form of co-financing of an ABS Capacity Development Initiative.

A survey of Danish businesses and academic institutions affected was performed in 2013, and the Nature Agency is currently preparing to implement the new national legislation, plus new EU and UN rules within this area as from late 2014.

Denmark is well down the road to support and prepare the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.