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Nature and Biodiversity: What’s in it for You – EU Publication

Biodiversity is the variety of life on our planet. It underpins our well being and the economy.

We depend on nature for our food, water, air, health, soil fertility and climate regulation.

More than 80% of Europe’s crops and wild plants need pollinators, like bees, in order to bear fruit and seeds.

Nature’s invisible services are free and often taken for granted – yet, they are precious and vulnerable.




Did you know …

Natural ecosystems are under pressure from urban sprawl, intensive agriculture, pollution, invasive species and climate change
Only 52 % of bird populations, 16 % of the most important natural habitats and 23 % of protected species in the EU are doing well …
8 out of 10 Europeans consider the eff ects of biodiversity loss serious


The EU is working to halt the loss of biodiversity and nature’s services – but more needs to be done by all of us in order to safeguard our natural heritage.

What the EU does

The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 aims to halt the loss of Europe’s biodiversity by addressing the main threats and restoring nature. The EU also works internationally to help prevent the loss of global biodiversity.

At the heart of EU conservation efforts are the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. They enable all 28 Member States to work together to protect our most vulnerable species and habitats. Their centrepiece is the creation of Natura 2000: the world’s largest coordinated network of protected areas, with more than 27 000 protected sites covering 1 million square kilometres: 18% of the EU’s land mass and close to 6% of its marine area!

Natural ecosystems such as forests, grasslands or wetlands work for us around the clock. Th eyen clean our water, purify our air, produce oxygen,  maintain the fertility of soil, provide us with food and medicines, regulate the climate and recycle our waste. It’s that simple: we could not live without these “ecosystem services”.

Caring for nature, caring for ourselves – Natura 2000

Natura 2000 provides benefi ts estimated to be worth € 200-300 billion a year, while its management costs are around € 6 billion a year.

Ocean plants produce more than half of the oxygen in our atmosphere.
Around € 15 billion worth of Europe’s agricultural production depends on pollination by insects.
Around 4.4 million jobs in the EU depend directly on healthy ecosystems; some of the EU’s fastest growing sectors are in the green economy.

What you can do to protect nature and biodiversity

Be an informed and responsible consumer – everyday choices can impact our environment.
Be a responsible tourist: leave wild animals and plants in peace and take your waste with you.
Volunteer to participate in projects and community initiatives to protect and restore nature.


While actions to protect Europe’s biodiversity have delivered many benefits to nature and people, a lot more needs to be done.

We need to complete, better manage and finance Natura 2000, reduce threats and restore ecosystems and their services in the wider landscape, in order to safeguard our natural heritage.

Source – EU Publications Office

Verde Environmental Consultants provide expert advisory, monitoring and assessment services from our offices in Wicklow, Cork, Mayo and Galway in soilairwaterwasteenergynoise and ecology disciplines

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