Commission launches knowledge centre to reverse biodiversity loss and protect Europe’s ecosystems
- A one-stop shop for key information about biodiversity and the impact of related policies;
- A platform where progress of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 can be monitored;
- An interface for scientists to network, share research results and channel them more effectively to support EU policies.
Protecting biodiversity: now is the timeReleased on the same day, an EU-wide ecosystem assessment highlights the urgency to tackle biodiversity loss – which is key to our health, wellbeing, our economies, and the resilience of our societies. The assessment finds that we are becoming more and more dependent on our ecosystems, which themselves are under increasing pressure from climate change and its related impacts. There are some positive signs, such as the 13 million hectare increase in Europe’s forests between 1990 and 2015 and the growth of organic farms, which now make up 7% of Europe’s agricultural land. However, the outlook for biodiversity is a cause for concern. Right now, 76% of the EU’s terrestrial ecosystems currently have no legal designation: forests, agroecosystems, urban green spaces and soils are largely unprotected. Pollinator species are under pressure: the index measuring the abundance of grassland butterfly populations in Europe has fallen by 39% since 1990. Europe’s rivers and lakes see less pollution and water abstraction than they did in 2000, but the speed of improvement has slowed down. Only 39% of freshwater bodies currently have good ecological status. Several other trends are currently difficult to measure and assess, which hampers effective policy action. Europe’s seas are protected by a comprehensive policy framework, but data gaps limit the analysis of trends in the inputs of nutrients, contaminants, and litter. In contrast, Europe’s freshwater ecosystems are constantly monitored through a network of tens of thousands of monitoring stations in rivers and lakes. However, of the 132 unique indicators used in this monitoring, only two report biodiversity in a consistent and harmonised way. This makes it impossible to assess species diversity trends at the European scale. The urgency of the current situation and the inherently complex and multi-dimensional aspects of biodiversity conservation require new ways of working. In this context, enhanced scientific support to all policymakers has a crucial role to play. This is where the Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity comes in.
Supporting the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030By bringing together and fostering interdisciplinary exchange, the Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity will deliver up-to-date, robust, high-quality scientific facts and evidence to support the EU Biodiversity strategy for 2030 in:
- extending and connecting protected areas;
- achieving the EU nature restoration targets and plan, which include, among others: conservation of pollinators and their habitats, reduction of pesticides and nutrient pollution from agriculture, restoration and decontamination of soils, and protection of forests;
- reinforcing enforcement, compliance and implementation of EU law;
- involving businesses, better financing, and integration of natural capital accounting systems;
- supporting the global biodiversity agenda, through work on global biodiversity conservation, protected areas, deforestation, biodiversity footprints.