An alarming state of affairs
Our biodiversity is becoming poorer at a rapid speed, as it is clear from the Millennium Ecosystem Evaluation: http://www.maweb.org
Since the 1950s, Europe has lost more than half its wetlands. Many of EU’s marine ecosystems are degraded. At species level, 42% of Europe’ native mammals, 43% of birds, 45% of butterflies, 30% of amphibians, 45% of reptiles and 52% of freshwater fishes are threatened with extinction.
Responsible hunters are very concerned about this development, as they know they are affected not only as lovers and users of nature, but also as parts of society which depends on functioning and diverse ecosystems.
The main reason: the disappearance and deterioration of habitats
The principal pressure on species survival is habitat fragmentation, degradation and destruction due to changes in land-use, amongst others conversion and intensification of production systems, abandonment of traditional (often biodiversity-friendly) practices, infrastructure developments and urbanisation. The other key pressures are over-exploitation, the spread of invasive alien species and pollution. Climate change will dramatically add-up to existing stress and pressure on ecosystems (on which also human societies depend upon). In order to increase the ability of ecosystems to adapt to climate change, it is essential to stop biodiversity loss.
The European Union’s goal is to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010
EU Heads of State or Government agreed in 2001 that “biodiversity decline should be halted, with the aim of reaching this objective by 2010” – Presidency Conclusions – Göteborg European Council – 15 & 16 June 2001.
The NATURA 2000 Network is at the forefront of the Community Action Plan for 2010 and beyond:
“Action for the EU’s most important habitats and species is vital to halting biodiversity loss by 2010 and fostering recovery. Securing these habitats require greater commitment from Member States to propose, designate , protect and effectively manage Natura 2000 sites.”
Communication from the Commission – Halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010 – and beyond –
COM(2006) 216 final, 22.5.2006