The European Commission has today (Wednesday, October 21) launched its Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity: a “one-stop shop for science-based evidence” to help protect biodiversity and natural eco-systems.

The centre will make the latest knowledge about biodiversity available to “strengthen the impact of EU policies”.

The commission says the centre will also help to monitor the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, which aims to put Europe’s biodiversity on a path to recovery by the end of the decade.

Launched during EU Green Week, the knowledge centre aims to directly address challenges uncovered by the first ever EU-wide eco-system assessment, produced by the Joint Research Centre.

The assessment shows that Europe’s natural areas – from its forests, rivers and lakes to its farmland, urban green spaces and soils – are under increasing pressure.

Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Only what gets measured gets done.

“If we want to deliver on the EU Biodiversity Strategy, we need to better connect all the dots, and for this we need sound data – be it on the status of pollinators; environmental impact of pesticides; the value of nature for business; or the economic rationale of nature-based solutions.

“We also need to make full use of the digital transformation, Earth observation and citizen science.”

The Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity will provide:
  • A “one-stop shop” for key information about biodiversity and the impact of related policies;
  • A platform where progress of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 can be monitored;
  • An interface for scientists to network, share research results and channel them more effectively to support EU policies.

Most frequently reported pressures for habitats and species ‘stem from agriculture’

Meanwhile, AgriLand also reported today that the European Commission has published its latest assessment of the state of nature in the EU, showing that the most frequently reported pressures for habitats and species “stem from agriculture”.

The report provides a review of the situation of Europe’s most vulnerable species and habitats protected under EU nature laws.

Decline of protected habitats and species still continues, caused mostly by intensive agriculture, urbanisation, unsustainable forestry activities and changes to freshwater habitats, according to the report.

Pollution of air, water and soil also impacts habitats, as well as climate change, over-exploitation of animals through illegal harvesting and untenable hunting and fishing.

If not addressed, this decline will “inevitably result in the continued erosion of our biodiversity and the vital services it provides, putting human health and prosperity at risk”.