Mapping and assessing the condition of Europe’s ecosystems: progress and challenges
The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published a report that provides an overview of the current condition of ecosystems in Europe and the human pressures they are exposed to. The report synthesises the EEA’s work on ecosystem mapping and assessment over the last few years. Mapping ecosystems and their condition is essential for measuring progress towards the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.
The report describes the main characteristics of eight broad ecosystem types in Europe: urban, cropland, grassland, heathland and shrub, woodland and forest, wetlands, freshwater, and marine, and then assesses the pressures acting on them and the impact of those pressures. Finally, there is a section on policy response, which considers the tools available for policymakers to protect and restore the ecosystem, and an overview of the key gaps in knowledge and data that will need to be resolved to allow the future development of ecosystem assessment.
An ecosystem map for Europe reveals that many ecosystems are highly concentrated in a small number of countries, which could increase their vulnerability to environmental change, and a substantial proportion of the most vulnerable ecosystems are not protected within Natura 2000 sites, Marine Protected Areas or equivalent zones.
Download the full report from the EEA website.