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ALTER-Net: A Long-Term Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network

Europe’s ecosystem research network


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Public Consultation on the future EU Initiative on No Net Loss of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

The EU is running a consultation on its future initiative on 'no net loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services'. The closing date is 17 October 2014.

Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms. It includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. Protecting biodiversity is important for its intrinsic values but it is also linked to human well-being. Healthy, resilient and productive ecosystems provide many benefits (also called ecosystem services) to human society such as food, timber, fuel, clean water, clean air, natural flood protection, carbon storage and recreational opportunities. In the EU, as in many other parts of the world and despite legislation and policies dedicated to environmental protection, biodiversity continues to decline. The main causes of biodiversity loss are changes in land-use, over-exploitation of natural resources, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change.

In 2011 the European Commission adopted the EU strategy for Biodiversity to 2020. One of the 20 actions included in the Strategy is 'to ensure no net loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services' and part of this action requires the European Commission 'to carry out further work with a view to proposing by 2015 an initiative to ensure there is no net loss of ecosystems and their services-----'.

The purpose of the present consultation is to gather views about the future initiative to be proposed by the Commission.

Please note that the birds and habitats directives which provide the basis for the Natura 2000 network and constitute the legislative core of EU biodiversity policy, are currently the subject of a Fitness check exercise within the framework of the Commission's REFIT programme, which will include its own dedicated public consultation procedure. Consequently, issues relating to these directives are not part of the present consultation.

The Commission has also announced its intention to come forward, in 2015, with a Communication on Land as Resource. In the preparation of this policy statement it is also foreseen that the Commission will carry out a dedicated public consultation.

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