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

  • Wildlife crime and the EU

    Wildlife crime threatens global biodiversity. The EU is both a destination and a transit region for illegally-traded products. A new study for the European Parliament summarises the situation in Europe and offers policy recommendations in view of the upcoming EU Action Plan. A set of in-depth case studies outline the situation in five EU countries.

  • 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.

  • On the path to a circular economy

    Read the lastest edition of our newsletter for our views on the circular economy package and much more.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Interactions between climate change and agriculture; and between biodiversity and agriculture in Europe

    What should be Europe’s role in feeding the world in 2050? This IEEP report for the European Parliament describes options for increasing the productivity of European agriculture whilst adapting to climate change, reducing emissions, and providing biodiversity and ecosystem service benefits from agriculture.

  • Sectoral resource mobilisation to implement global biodiversity targets

    There is an urgent need to find sufficient resources to enable developing countries to implement the global targets for biodiversity by 2020. Financing the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity from different sectoral funding flows can complement global biodiversity financing.

  • Ecosystem services of boreal mires and peatlands in Finland

    Mire ecosystems are well-known for their unique species and habitats of high conservation value and they also provide a range of benefits to our societies and economies. This publication outlines the results of a pioneering project that aimed to identify and valuate ecosystem services provided by pristine mires and managed peatlands in Finland.

  • Does the EU benefit the UK environment?

    This report considers how environmental policy in the EU effects the UK and looks at some alternatives. Overall the impact within the environmental domain can be judged to be strongly positive to the UK. The action taken has been well balanced, with benefits for human health and welfare and the sustainability of the economy as well as the environment itself.

  • Incorporating biodiversity and ecosystem service values into national strategies and action plans

    This guidance document has been prepared to support practitioners of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans to update their plans to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem service values. Six in depth country case studies provide common lessons of good practice.

  • Webinar: Incorporating biodiversity into national strategies and action plans

    IEEP has just produced a roadmap and guidance document to help practitioners to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem values into their NBSAPs. See case study examples and tune into the webinars on June 5 and 7.

  • Land as an Environmental Resource

    How can we meet the different and often conflicting demands we make on our limited supply of rural land in Europe? A more strategic approach to the way in which land is used is needed than has been the case in the past. This report for DG Environment looks at the data, the challenges and the policy options for Europe.

  • Socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in the Nordic countries

    New TEEB-inspired regional assessment (published on 31 January) shows that nature and its ecosystem services are of high socio-economic significance for the Nordic countries. In order to be truly sustainable, Nordic economic systems need to build on a more comprehensive appreciation and understanding of the value of natural capital.

  • Exploring key priorities and actions for the 7th EAP

    This policy paper examines how the forthcoming 7EAP can contribute to protecting natural systems and improving the way in which we use natural resources. It also examines a number of cross-cutting actions needed to support the priorities of the 7EAP and ensure better delivery of EU environment policy.

  • What do we mean by Green Economy?

    What is the Green Economy? What policy actions can contribute to achieving it? And how have EU-funded research projects supported these actions?

  • Green Economy in the European Union

    Elements of the green economy concept are relatively well integrated in EU strategic documents - but the focus is on achieving green/sustainable growth, rather than achieving a ‘green economy’.

  • European Parliament report on sustainable competitiveness and innovation

    The CAP could, and should, be primarily to assist EU agriculture to become more internationally competitive and sustainable and to achieve this by innovation. It already has many instruments to do this, and the reforms could further assist. However the resources deployed could be far better used.

  • The benefits associated with Sites of Special Scientific Interest in England and Wales

    A report on the benefits provided to society by Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in England and Wales was just published. The study, led by GHK with support from others including IEEP, examines the range of ecosystem services provided by the network of SSSIs and estimates the monetary value of protecting them.

Highlights

  • Wildlife crime and the EU

    Wildlife crime threatens global biodiversity. The EU is both a destination and a transit region for illegally-traded products. A new study for the European Parliament summarises the situation in Europe and offers policy recommendations in view of the upcoming EU Action Plan. A set of in-depth case studies outline the situation in five EU countries.

  • Sectoral resource mobilisation to implement global biodiversity targets

    There is an urgent need to find sufficient resources to enable developing countries to implement the global targets for biodiversity by 2020. Financing the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity from different sectoral funding flows can complement global biodiversity financing.

  • Does the EU benefit the UK environment?