Presentation cancelled by author

Monitoring under the EU habitats directive


Douglas Evans


The EU Habitats Directive was adopted in 1992 and requires site protection for selected habitats and species (listed in Annexes I & II), strict protection for selected species (Annex IV) and allows for management measures for some species (Annex V). Article 11 of the directive requires “surveillance of the conservation status of the natural habitats and species referred to in Article 2 [ie habitats and species listed on Annexes I, II, IV & V]) while Article 17 require Member States to report every six years – “This report shall include in particular information concerning the conservation measures referred to in Article 6 (1) as well as evaluation of the impact of those measures on the conservation status of the natural habitat types of Annex I and the species in Annex II and the main results of the surveillance referred to in Article 11”.

The directive requires the use of an agreed format, this did not happen for the first report covering the period 1994-2000 but for subsequent reports (2001-06; 2007-2012) an agreed format was used. This includes an assessment of ‘Conservation Status’ based on the definitions of ‘Favourable Conservation Status’ given in the directive together with supporting information on habitat area, population size, threats and pressures, conservation measures etc. Guidelines were published for each reporting cycle to try and ensure harmonisation between the countries and to allow aggregation of the reported data to give assessments of Conservations Status at an EU scale. Results from the last report are available in a report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA 2015) and show that most habitats and species are not at Favourable Conservation Status although there is much variation between groups and countries. This is not surprising as the habitats and species were mostly selected as they were thought to be threatened.

Although there are many issues with the resulting dataset, it provides the first EU wide dataset for habitats and for many of the species groups. The next report is due in 2019 and will cover the period 2013-2018. Revised guidelines have been published and the format slightly revised to try and address some of the problems identified in earlier reporting cycles. However for many species and habitats there is still a lack of information at national level, especially outside protected areas.

The Article 17 reports were a major input to the recent review of the Habitats Directive undertaken by the European Commission and were also used to help set some of the targets under the EU 2020 biodiversity Strategy. They have also been used an input for other work, including the recent Red List of European Habitats.

EEA (2015) State of nature in the EU. EEA Technical report No 2/2015, EEA, Copenhagen.