Biodiversity

Our Work

Our work supports the EU's objective of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services by 2020. This includes assessing the costs and socio-economic benefits of conserving biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, and developing evidence-based polices that help implement and finance EU biodiversity conservation measures. IEEP has extensive experience of biodiversity-related policy analysis in agricultural, freshwater and marine ecosystems and has pioneered measures to tackle invasive alien species and the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. We primarily work on policy analysis and development projects for the European Commission, but also contribute to the biodiversity conservation work of national governments, NGOs and other international governmental organisations.

The EU has a relatively well-established biodiversity conservation policy framework, now formalised in the 2010 EU Biodiversity Strategy, at the heart of which are the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive, which have created the Natura 2000 network – the largest network of protected areas in the world. These Directives include legislative measures that require Member States to conserve and restore EU threatened habitats and species, both within Natura 2000 sites but also where necessary in the wider environment. The Biodiversity Strategy also includes targets that aim to restore ecosystems and their services, support the biodiversity conservation measures in agricultural, forest and marine ecosystems, address alien invasive species and reduce the EU’s external impacts on global biodiversity.

Despite this impressive framework ecosystems continue to be degraded and biodiversity is still being lost. This is due to slow, incomplete or inappropriate implementation, including weak enforcement, a lack of funding, and some important policy gaps.

A fundamental problem continues to be the undervaluation of biodiversity and its limited capture in economic systems. Therefore a key area of our work is demonstrating the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services to clearly show that biodiversity is worthy of protection, for its own sake and for its contribution to human well-being. This understanding is the basis for the development of policies that aim to support the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, for example through better regulations, cost-effective public funding (such as agri-environment schemes and other EU funds) and innovative market-based instruments (such as payments for ecosystem services and biodiversity offsets).

Latest in Biodiversity

  • CAP greening: what are its environmental prospects?

    A significant injection of money was agreed for ‘green’ farming practices under the recent CAP reform. This report examines the environmental impact these measures are likely to have on the ground and concludes that Member States’ implementation choices appear to have much diminished the chances of the greening measures delivering significant additional environmental benefits.

  • Volkswagen: Painful Lessons

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock discusses Volkswagen and lack of implementation and compliance across EU environmental policy in general. Also: greening of the CAP; Marine Protected Areas; and LULUCF.

  • New report: assessing the benefits of marine protected areas

    Marine Protected Areas provide a range of benefits to human wellbeing, including providing food, mitigating climate change and creating opportunities for recreation and tourism. Further steps are needed to assess and communicate these benefits, this way supporting marine conservation both globally and in the EU.

  • Benefits of marine protected areas in the context of EU’s Natura 2000 network

    A scoping study by IEEP outlines a step-wise methodology to assess the overall benefits provided by the EU’s marine Natura 2000 network.

  • Tracking biodiversity expenditure in the EU budget

    The European Commission is in the process of developing a methodology to track biodiversity related expenditure in the EU budget. This effort is similar to the parallel process for tracking ...

  • Nature, Health and Jobs: IEEP at Green Week 2015

    Drawing on recent work by the Institute, IEEP’s Patrick ten Brink will present at Green Week 2015 on Jobs & Growth through Green Infrastructure (3 June 2015 - 16:30-18:00, Session 2.2) and on Health and Social Benefits of Nature and Biodiversity Protection (4 June 2015 - 09:30-11:00, Session 3.3).

  • Result-based agri-environment measures: market-based instruments, incentives or rewards?

    Result-based schemes are innovative agri-environment measures, which remunerate farmers only if they can demonstrate to have achieved the desired environmental goal. This is different from ...

  • Biodiversity offsets: design of biodiversity metrics and mechanisms for securing long term conservation benefits

    This study by ICF International, IEEP and national experts reviewed international best practice for designing biodiversity offsetting metrics and establishing mechanisms for ensuring long term conservation benefits from offsetting. It explores options for implementation at the European level and possible challenges. The report follows up on the IEEP report on policy options to achieve no net loss of biodiversity.

  • How is favourable conservation status being defined across the EU?

    The core objective of both nature directives is to achieve a favourable conservation status of European protected habitats and species. An understanding of how these criteria for conservation status have been interpreted and implemented across the Member States is important as greater uniformity in the interpretation could improve the quality of biodiversity reporting at the European level.

  • Looking beyond Paris

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock argues that in the next six months the EU has a substantive role in contributing to agreement on an ambitious but credible set of SDGs and more stretching climate targets. Also: energy efficiency and security; bioeconomy; and circular economy.

  • Public consultation on EU Nature legislation ‘Fitness Check‘ launched

    The ‘Fitness Check’ on EU Nature legislation has moved to a new phase with the launch of an online public consultation. The consultation allows all interested parties throughout the European Union to share their views on the legislation.

  • New book on protected area governance and management

    The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) has published a new book on protected area governance and management. IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen played a key role in supporting the chapter on values and benefits of protected areas.

  • Nature and the green economy – IEEP contributing to China’s eco-civilisation drive

    IEEP’s Patrick ten Brink presented on Nature and its Role in the Transition to a Green Economy at the TEEB Multi-stakeholder International Workshop held on 21-22 January in Beijing, China. The talk contributed to current discussions in China on how decision-makers can better consider the multiple values of nature and ecosystems, with a focus on protected areas.

  • Evidence before ideology

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock argues that in 2015 solid evidence rather than political fashion will be required in scrutinising EU policy and economic performance. Also: fossil fuel subsidies; allocating fishing quota; and the launch of our new training programme.

  • Finland launches its ecosystem service assessment

    Finland joins the ranks of countries that have carried out a dedicated assessment of their ecosystem services. Like similar studies elsewhere, the assessment concludes that ecosystem services underpin the country’s social and economic well-being and should therefore form the basis of the transition to a green economy in Finland.

  • The value and social significance of ecosystem services in Finland (TEEB for Finland)

    TEEB for Finland presents the results of a national assessment of the socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in Finland. It provides a review of the country’s most relevant ecosystem services while also considering opportunities and tools for their sustainable management.

  • The use of eco-accounts in Baden- Württemberg to implement the German Impact Mitigation Regulation: A tool to meet EU’s No-Net-Loss requirement?

    A case study which looks into the extent to which the Eco-accounts in place in Baden-Württemberg in Germany are effective and consistent with the EU’s no-net-loss objective and international offsetting principles.

  • Access IEEP’s definitive guide to European environmental policy

    The award-winning Manual of European Environmental Policy is now available on IEEP’s website. This archive provides free access to the definitive guide to the development of European environmental policy.

  • The Manual: Front pages

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter provides information on the authors, editors and editorial board involved in the Manual, as well as guidance on how to use it, and a brief outline of its content.

  • The Manual: Chapter 1 - Policy framework

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. In this chapter, the reader is introduced to European environmental policy, EU institutions and agencies, and the development of EU treaties.