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

  • 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.

  • Agreement on EU invasive alien species regulation

    The European Parliament and the Council have agreed on a final text for the EU regulation on invasive alien species (IAS). Given the difficulties in negotiating the deal, the final text can be considered as a reasonable compromise. When adopted, the regulation will provide a long-awaited framework for addressing IAS at EU level.

  • 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.

  • 40 years of cooperation in protecting the Baltic Sea

    IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen gave a presentation at the Helsinki Convention (HELCOM) Jubilee Session on the understanding and valuation of marine ecosystem services, Helsinki, 5 Mar 2014.

  • Winter 2014 Newsletter - A Question of Targets

    The latest edition of IEEP’s newsletter is now available.

  • 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.

  • Transforming our approach to water and wetlands

    Thursday 12th December: IEEP and UNEP are hosting two webinar discussions on the values of water and wetlands and how to mainstream these values into policy-making in order to promote wise use and management.

  • Assessing the social and economic benefits of protected areas in Europe

    A webinar on social and economic benefits of protected landscapes was organised by Europarc Atlantic Isles on 20 November. IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen kicked off the event by a European overview and some key considerations of assessing benefits in practice.

  • Understanding and valuing ecosystem services provided by the Baltic Sea

    IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen outlined key perspectives on the valuation of coastal and marine ecosystem services in a regional workshop on the Valuation of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services in the Baltic Sea, Stockholm (7-8 Nov 2013)

  • Four decades of EU environmental policy

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is out. Director David Baldock reflects on 40 years of EU environmental policy, plus an update on biofuels policy, costs and benefits of energy savings, developing Natural Captal accounts, and much more...

  • 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.

  • Recycling wastes and residues for sustainable bioenergy and biomaterials

    What should be Europe’s role in feeding the world in 2050, considering competing demands for land? This IEEP report for the European Parliament describes options for reusing food wastes and agricultural and forestry residues for biomaterials and bioenergy.

  • Social and Economic Benefits of Protected Areas

    A new book by IEEP researchers offers a comprehensive introduction to the socio-economic benefits of protected areas and provides step-by-step guidance on identifying, assessing and valuing the various benefits they provide.

  • 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.

  • The end of a long wait: EU legislative proposal on IAS published

    The European Commission has published the long-waited proposal for EU legislative action on invasive alien species (IAS).

  • IEEP reports to the Science and Technology Options (STOA) Panel of the European Parliament

    Recycling for bioenergy and options for climate-resilient agriculture which benefits biodiversity: presentation to the Science and Technology Options Panel of the European Parliament