Natural habitats across Europe declining

Wetlands, coastal areas and grasslands are in decline across Europe due to increased levels of tourism and climate change.

This according to the European Commission's most comprehensive report into biodiversity, following its announcement earlier this year that Europe will miss its 2010 target to protect biodiversity.

The report, released today 14 July, says the overall status of grassland, wetland and coastal habitat types across Europe is 'particularly poor'.

Shifts towards more intensive agriculture, abandonment of land and poor management are all factors listed in the document, which covers the period between 2001 to 2006.

Wetlands are being converted to other uses, and are also suffering the effects of climate change, as are habitats associated with mountain glaciers, while coastal habitats are under increasing pressure from tourism.

However, the picture is not uniformly gloomy as it notes efforts to reintroduce and support wildlife such as the wolf, Eurasian lynx, beaver and otter are proving successful.

European environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas, said: "We are committed to halting the loss of biodiversity in Europe and today's report leaves no room for complacency.

"Bringing vulnerable habitats and species back to a good status takes time and considerable effort.

"Although we will miss the target of halting the biodiversity loss in Europe by 2010, some progress is being made."

The report covers 216 types of habitats, and contains information about some 1182 species.

Luke Walsh


fish | coral | quarries


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