Mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy – No significant progress towards the target for forestry?
On 2 October 2015 the European Commission released its mid-term review of its EU biodiversity strategy, assessing whether the EU is on track for achieving the objective of halting biodiversity loss by 2020.

While the results indicate a positive development in many areas, the report highlights also the need for much greater efforts by the Member States to deliver to their commitments on implementing the Strategy and on the ground to translate the EU’s policies into action.

According to the report, no significant progress has been made concerning the Strategy’s headline target of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restore them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss. More than three quarters of the important natural habitats in the EU are considered in an unfavourable state, while many species are threatened with extinction.

‘There is no room for complacency – losing biodiversity means losing our life-support system. We can't afford that, and neither can our economy’ Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said.

Against the backdrop of Target 3B of the Biodiversity Strategy, which aims to increase the contribution of forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity, the Commission report concludes that no significant overall progress has been made and that much stronger efforts are needed to meet the target by its deadline.

Although EU forest area has increased, the conservation status of forest habitats and species covered by EU nature legislation shows no signs of improvement. Even though forest management plans can play an important positive role in achieving the target, the report says that their potential “remains largely unused.”  

According to the European Environmental Agency (EEA) report ‘State of nature in the EU’, which serves as one of the important background documents for the Biodiversity Strategy mid-term review, about 80% Europe’s forest habitats are considered unfavourable. The results vary considerably across Europe’s biogeographical regions, with the highest proportion of favourable assessments being found in the Mediterranean region and a 100% unfavourable habitats status assessed in the Scandinavian region.

The CEPF strongly questions the results of both reports as well as the assessment methodology in general.

According to the EEA report, which forms the background to the Article 17 reporting of the nature directives 2007-2012, four parameters are used to determine the conservation status of habitats. Each habitat is assessed against the parameters range, area, structure and functions, as well as future prospects. If one of the parameters is considered to be unfavourable, the entire habitat is considered unfavourable. Since these assessments are not consistently and coherently conducted in a scientific manner, a risk remains that the results do not necessarily show the real status of a specific habitat. In addition, even if certain measures have been implemented aimed at countering biodiversity loss, the time lag to see the impact on biodiversity is often not taken into consideration.

For more information on the mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy, please refer to

The state of nature report can be found here: