flagship projects

The following flagship projects provide important information and knowledge in order to support the decision process at European level.

State of Nature in the EU

Results from reporting under the nature directives 2013-2018

The State of Nature in the EU report describes the state of nature in the EU based on reports from Member States under the Birds (2009/147/EC) and the Habitats (92/43/EEC) directives and on subsequent assessments at EU or EU biogeographical levels. In addition to an overview on species and habitats status, both at national and EU levels, it also addresses the status of the Natura 2000 network and its possible contribution to the status of species and habitats. Finally, the report provides results on progress towards Targets 1 and 3 of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy.

Unsustainable farming and forestry, urban sprawl and pollution are the top pressures to blame for a drastic decline in Europe’s biodiversity, threatening the survival of thousands of animal species and habitats. Moreover, European Union (EU) nature directives and other environmental laws still lack implementation by Member States. Most protected habitats and species are not in good conservation status and much more must be done to reverse the situation, according to the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) ‘State of nature in the EU’ report, published today.

To read more about this report and to download it, go here.

The European environment — state and outlook 2020 report (SOER 2020)

The European environment – state and outlook 2020 is published by the EEA every five years as mandated in its regulation. SOER 2020 is the 6th SOER published by the EEA since 1995. It offers solid, science-based insights on how we must respond to the huge and complex challenges we face, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and air and water pollution.

SOER 2020 has been prepared in close collaboration with the EEA’s European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet). The report draws on the Eionet’s vast expertise of leading experts and scientists in the environmental field, across the EEA’s 33 member countries and six cooperating countries.

To read more about this report and to download it, go here.

Streamlined European Biodiversity Indicators

The SEBI initiative is a partnership between the European Environment Agency (EEA), its Topic Centre on Biological Diversity (ETC/BD) and DG Environment of the European Commission. The initiative has secured legitimacy and a robustness of approach since its start in 2005 by involving key stakeholders: policy makers, the scientific community, and representatives of countries who are the members of the European environment information and observation network (Eionet). From its inception SEBI linked the global framework set by the Convention on Biological Diversity with regional and national indicator initiatives.

MAES - Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services

This report presents an ecosystem assessment covering the total land area of the EU as well as the EU marine regions. The assessment is carried out by Joint Research Centre, European Environment Agency, DG Environment, and the European Topic Centres on Biological Diversity and on Urban, Land and Soil Systems. This report constitutes a knowledge base which can support the evaluation of the 2020 biodiversity targets. It also provides a data foundation for future assessments and policy developments, in particular with respect to the ecosystem restoration agenda for the next decade (2020-2030). The report presents an analysis of the pressures and condition of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems using a single, comparable methodology based on European data on trends of pressures and condition relative to the policy baseline 2010.

The following main conclusions are drawn:

· Pressures on ecosystems exhibit different trends.

· Land take, atmospheric emissions of air pollutants and critical loads of nitrogen are decreasing but the absolute values of all these pressures remain too high.

 · Impacts from climate change on ecosystems are increasing.

· Invasive alien species of union concern are observed in all ecosystems, but their impact is particularly high in urban ecosystems and grasslands.

· Pressures from overfishing activities and marine pollution are still high.

· In the long term, air and freshwater quality is improving.

· In forests and agroecosystems, which represent over 80% of the EU territory, there are improvements in structural condition indicators (biomass, deadwood, area under organic farming) relative to the baseline year 2010 but some key bio-indicators such as tree-crown defoliation continue to increase. This indicates that ecosystem condition is not improving.

· Species-related indicators show no progress or further declines, particularly in agroecosystems.

The analysis of trends in ecosystem services concluded that the current potential of ecosystems to deliver timber, protection against floods, crop pollination, and nature-based recreation is equal to or lower than the baseline value for 2010. At the same time, the demand for these services has significantly increased. A lowered potential in combination with a higher demand risks to further decrease the condition of ecosystems and their contribution to human well-being. Despite the wide coverage of environmental legislation in the EU, there are still large gaps in the legal protection of ecosystems. On land, 76% of the area of terrestrial ecosystems, mainly forests, agroecosystems and urban ecosystems, are excluded from a legal designation under the Bird and Habitat Directives.

To read more about this report and to download it, go here. To read more about this project and Ecosystems in general, visit the Ecosystems page on this website.