Wild horses in the Czech Republic -

Petr David Josek / AP / SIPA

Will you take back some bad news in this year 2020?

With more than 80% of natural habitats in poor condition across its territory, the European Union must better preserve its nature, the degradation of which has effects on the well-being of populations, warns a report from the European Agency on Monday. the Environment (AEE).

This figure shows a worsening of the situation: between 2007 and 2012, 77% of natural habitats were in a so-called “unfavorable” situation, against 81% for the last period analyzed (2013-2018).

Decline everywhere

“We clearly need a large-scale refloating in Europe,” Carlos Romao, one of the report's authors and expert with the EEA, told reporters.

"It is a necessity not only for biodiversity but also for the program to fight against climate change".

Less than half of the birds (47%) have a conservation status qualified as “good” - 5 points lower than in the previous survey between 2007-2012.

Familiar species, like the skylark, and ordinary landscapes, like the heather plains, are in decline across the continent.

The threats to which nature is confronted are multiple: intensive agriculture, urbanization - coupled with tourism and leisure activities -, unsustainable exploitation of forests, pollution, etc.

67,000 human activities responsible for the degradation of nature

For example, fertilizers have a detrimental effect on small mammals like squirrels or hamsters.

Other challenges are emerging, foremost among them climate change causing droughts.

In all, over the six years (2013-2018) covered by the report, the EEA has identified 67,000 human activities responsible for the degradation of nature in the 28 EU countries (United Kingdom included).

A little hope anyway

An additional source of concern, important habitats for pollinators, essential for our biodiversity, have a more degraded conservation status than the others, notes the report.

But get away from that box of Xanax, the picture is not all black.

The conservation status of animal species is considered good for 27% of them, a low figure but an improvement of 4 points compared to the previous period.

Another positive point is that conservation efforts pay off: natural sites covered by the EU's Natura 2000 network are better preserved than other habitats, assures the EEA.

These areas cover 18% of land (stable compared to 2012) and 10% (+4 points) of seas within the EU.

The environmental NGO Noah, member of the organization "Friends of the Earth", asked in early October to bring these ratios to 30%.


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