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The restoration of nature

The restoration of nature


Ana María Pujante Mora

On Monday 17/06/2024 the European Parliament gave its final approval to the controversial Nature Restoration Law. With this law, EU member states aim to regenerate degraded ecosystems in their territories, thereby contributing to achieving climate and biodiversity targets and improving food security.

The 2018 State of Nature in Europe report (EEA Report/N°10/2020) notes that despite EU and international efforts, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation continues at an alarming rate, harming people, the economy, nature and the climate.

Conservation status of habitats in Europe. Source: (EEA Report/Nº10/2020)

Europe’s ecosystems are under increasing pressure, especially from land use, climate change and nutrient pollution. The objective is to restore at least 30% of degraded terrestrial and marine ecosystems, the main lines of action of which will be:

  • Reversing the decline of insects, especially pollinators (Report on pollinators, pollination and food production).
  • Properly manage dead wood in forest ecosystems, ensuring connectivity and carbon stocks.
  • Increase and preserve green spaces in urban ecosystems.
  • Increase butterflies from grassland and birds to agricultural land, increase carbon stock to soils, establish an adequate proportion of agricultural land with diverse landscape elements. Restore 30% of peatlands drained by agricultural uses by 2030 and 70% by 2050.
  • Restore marine habitats such as seagrass meadows or sediment beds and restore species habitats.
  • Detect and remove barriers to surface water connectivity so that 25,000 km of river will return to free flow by 2030.
Conservation status of species in Europe. Source: (EEA Report/Nº10/2020)

With the entry into force of the Nature Restoration Law, different restoration targets will apply to different ecosystems, and the specific measures will be decided by each EU Member State within its territory. Each State will draw up its national restoration plan, which will include restoration needs and measures adapted to the local context and a timetable for their implementation and with the involvement of local communities and civil society.