• EEA report highlights need to restore damaged ecosystems

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EEA report highlights need to restore damaged ecosystems

May 19 2023

Europe's natural environment is facing a dire situation with little improvement seen in recent years. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has released a recent briefing emphasizing the urgent need for restoration efforts and improved ecosystem management to safeguard the numerous benefits provided by a healthy nature. These benefits include the well-being of people, food security, and effective climate action.

Titled 'The Importance of Restoring Nature in Europe,' the EEA briefing compiles key evidence highlighting why European ecosystems require immediate and coordinated restoration efforts. This applies not only to existing designated protected areas but also extends to managed forests, agricultural lands, seas, and urban areas.

The restoration of damaged rivers, lakes, wetlands, forests, grasslands, marine habitats, and other ecosystems would not only improve the overall resilience and quality of nature in Europe but also yield numerous societal advantages. For instance, the health of habitats for pollinators such as bees and beetles is vital for ensuring long-term food security in Europe. In addition, the condition of forests and wetlands plays a vital role in mitigating climate change, and healthy ecosystems provide better protection against extreme weather events and pollution, as emphasised by the EEA briefing.

Despite commitments made by European Union (EU) Member States over several decades, long-term policy targets on nature have not been achieved, and the overall negative trend of declining biodiversity has continued. This EEA briefing serves as a reminder that it is crucial to reverse this course by restoring damaged ecosystems to a healthy state while simultaneously preserving the well-being of existing ones.

According to the EEA's latest assessment, 'State of Nature in the EU 2020,' a staggering 81% of protected habitats, 39% of protected bird species, and 63% of other protected species are in a poor or bad state. The pressures on nature in Europe stem from multiple contributing factors, including intensive agriculture, land degradation, pollution, unsustainable forestry practices, and the impacts of climate change.

Addressing the state of nature in Europe requires urgent action and collaboration between governments, organisations, and individuals. Restoration efforts must be prioritized, and sustainable practices should be implemented across various sectors to preserve and protect the invaluable ecosystems that support life on the continent. Only through a concerted and unwavering commitment to restoring Europe's damaged ecosystems can we secure a sustainable future for both nature and humanity.

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