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EU Commission Adopts New Biodiversity Action Plan

9 May 2011

The European Commission has adopted a new strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. There are six main targets, and 20 actions to help Europe reach its goal.

The 17 page 'Communication to the European Parliament, The Council, The Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions' is entitled 'Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020'.

The document notes that 'The EU’s ecological footprint is currently double its biological capacity'.

The new strategy incorporates the outcome of the negociations at Nagoya, Japan of the parties to the Conventional on Biological Diversity (including the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation) in October last year. It also sets the EU on track to meet its own biodiversity objectives and its global commitments.

The Vision

2050 vision: By 2050, European Union biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides — its natural capital — are protected, valued and appropriately restored for biodiversity's intrinsic value and for their essential contribution to human wellbeing and economic prosperity, and so that catastrophic changes caused by the loss of biodiversity are avoided.

2020 headline target: Halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss.


There were six adopted targets and those with direct relevance to plant conservation are:

Target 1 To halt the deterioration in the status of all species and habitats covered by EU nature legislation and achieve a significant and measurable improvement in their status so that, by 2020, compared to current assessments: (i) 100% more habitat assessments and 50% more species assessments under the Habitats Directive show an improved conservation status; ...

Target 2 By 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15 % of degraded ecosystems.

Target 3*

A) Agriculture: By 2020, maximise areas under agriculture across grasslands, arable land and permanent crops that are covered by biodiversity-related measures under the CAP so as to ensure the conservation of biodiversity and to bring about a measurable improvement(*) in the conservation status of species and habitats that depend on or are affected by agriculture and in the provision of ecosystem services as compared to the EU2010 Baseline, thus contributing to enhance sustainable management.

B) Forests: By 2020, Forest Management Plans or equivalent instruments, in line with Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)21, are in place for all forests that are publicly owned and for forest holdings above a certain size** (to be defined by the Member States or regions and communicated in their Rural Development Programmes) that receive funding under the EU Rural Development Policy so as to bring about a measurable improvement(*) in the conservation status of species and habitats that depend on or are affected by forestry and in the provision of related ecosystem services as compared to the EU 2010 Baseline.

(*) For both targets, improvement is to be measured against the quantified enhancement targets for the conservation status of species and  habitats of EU interest in Target 1 and the restoration of degraded ecosystems under target 2.
(**) For smaller forest holdings, Member States may provide additional incentives to encourage the adoption of Management Plans or equivalent instruments that are in line with SFM.

Target 5: By 2020, Invasive Alien Species and their pathways are identified and prioritised, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and pathways are managed to prevent the introduction and establishment of new IAS.

Target 6: By 2020, the EU has stepped up its contribution to averting global biodiversity loss. 

(Note: The targets also included provision for fish and marine conservation which are not included above). 

The full document can read online (PDF)

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