I’ve been reading this report published today to see what it says about habitats and vascular plants. The aims of the Habitat and Bird directives are maintaining or restoring habitats and species to a favourable conservation status. It’s a depressing and depressingly bland read with no specifics about the performance of individual member states.

The executive summary says :

  • “Only 15% of habitat assessments have a good conservation status, with 81% having poor or bad conservation status at EU level and 4% reported as unknown. Over 50% of dune habitats and bog, mire and fen habitats have a bad conservation status. Compared with the previous reporting period, the share of habitats with bad conservation status has increased by 6%.”
  • “Grasslands, dunes, and bog, mire and fen habitats show strong deteriorating trends, while forests have the most improving trends.”
  • While vascular plants and reptile species have a higher proportion with good conservation status (35%) compared with all species (around 25%), this is still clearly an appalling state of affairs.
  • It’s no surprise that the two primary causes are identified as agricultural activities and urbanisation “Although the drivers of habitat degradation and species decline are diverse, agricultural activities such as abandoning extensive management and intensifying management practices are the most common pressure overall. Urbanisation is the second largest pressure, which especially affects habitats such as dunes and coastal and rocky habitats.” And that’s before we get to climate change.
  • The report concludes that while the objectives for the 2020 EU Biodiversity Strategy have not been met, the 2030 strategy, one which of course the UK will not be part of, will be more ambitious. From reading this, I don’t feel any reassurance that the EU State of Nature in 2030 will be better.