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

  • What can the UK do to reduce environmental risks from pesticides?

    The UK’s action plan on sustainable use of pesticides aims to reduce the risks and impacts of pesticide use on the environment and encourage alternative approaches and techniques. How is the UK doing?

  • Will Brexit affect the UK’s actions to reduce the environmental impacts of pesticides?

    The UK’s action plan on sustainable use of pesticides aims to reduce the impacts of pesticide use on the environment and encourage alternative approaches. How is the UK doing and how could Brexit change the government’s approach to pesticides?

  • Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives

    The Nature Directives (i.e. Birds Directive and Habitats Directive) are the key instruments of EU environmental policy; the Fitness Check support study, carried out by Milieu, IEEP and ICF for the European Commission DG-ENV, examined their effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, EU-added value and their coherence with the wider acquis.

  • Are Ecological Focus Areas delivering for biodiversity?

    Ecological Focus Areas are intended to safeguard and improve biodiversity on arable farms in the EU. What evidence is there that they are actually delivering biodiversity on farmland?

  • Ecological Focus Areas – what are their impacts on biodiversity?

    Ecological Focus Areas are intended to safeguard and improve biodiversity on arable farms in the EU. This IEEP study for EEB and BirdLife examined the evidence for potential biodiversity impacts on farmland, taking into account how the areas are being managed.

  • Improving environmental financing via result-based agri-environment measures

    A new article by IEEP explores the use of result-based agri-environment measures in the region of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The study shows that result-based schemes can increase the environmental effectiveness and conditionality of the EU Common Agricultural Policy.

  • 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.

  • 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 ...

  • 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.

  • The Manual: Chapter 13 - Sectoral policies

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter sets out the development of some of the most important links between EU environmental policy and other policy areas, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, trade, and so on.

  • Whither the new Commission?

    IEEP’s David Baldock gives his take on the new Commission in the latest edition of our newsletter. Read about how IEEP is raising ambition for the next EU climate and energy package, plus: priorities and policy options for a circular economy, payments for farmland biodiversity achievements, biodiversity proofing EU spending, and more.

  • Guidelines for biodiversity proofing the EU budget

    This report provides a practical framework to ensure that spending under the EU budget has no negative impacts on biodiversity, and that spending under the EU budget is overall supportive to achieving the biodiversity targets.

  • Guidance handbook for financing Natura 2000

    An updated ‘Financing Natura 2000 Guidance Handbook’ aims to inform national stakeholders about opportunities for financing the management of Natura 2000 sites through various EU funds during the 2014-2020 period.

  • New guidance for farmland management in Natura 2000

    New guidance for farmland management in Natura 2000 gives agricultural and conservation authorities a step-by-step guide to management and funding measures and practical advice on habitat and species management.

  • High Nature Value farming throughout EU-27 and its financial support under the CAP

    This study reviews Member States’ estimates of the extent of HNV farmland and use of RDP measures and the CMEF indicators, then identifies future priorities for CAP support for HNV farming and discusses the support opportunities under the reformed CAP. It offers detailed new evidence about the combined effect of Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 CAP payments on the economic and environmental viability of a typical HNV farming system in three Member States.

  • New report: High Nature Value Farming in the EU

    Member States need to make the most of the opportunities under the new Common Agricultural Policy if the declines in HNV farming, critical for meeting our 2020 biodiversity targets, are to be halted.

  • Policy Options to Achieve No Net Loss of Biodiversity

    A new IEEP led study concludes that mandatory biodiversity offsetting is required to achieve no net loss of biodiversity in the EU, but its introduction could be counter-productive if it is not introduced cautiously and regulated strictly. The first priority should be to better implement existing nature conservation measures.

  • Environmental policy and the UK’s review of the EU Balance of Competences

    The UK Government’s Balance of Competences review has now taken evidence on 25 subject areas, including the 6 with the most relevance for the Environment. We take stock of the IEEP’s contributions, and consider what a possible UK renegotiation might mean for the environment.

  • Options for sustainable food and agriculture in the EU

    How should Europe respond to the increased demands on our food and agriculture systems arising from global population growth, changing diets, and competing demands on agricultural land? This report offers a view on how the EU could play a role in meeting these challenges in the coming decades and sets out some of the options which merit particular attention.

  • Europe’s role in feeding the world in 2050

    IEEP presents views on how Europe should respond to the increased demands on our food and agriculture systems arising from global population growth, changing diets, and competing demands on agricultural land.

Highlights