Protected areas cover more than one fifth of the land in the 39 countries working with the European Environment Agency (EEA). On International Biodiversity Day, the EEA encourages Europeans to find out more about their closest nature reserve or national park using a new interactive map. - 22, May 2013
There is an amazing diversity of natural environments to be explored throughout Europe. These include 105 000 protected sites, from the Arctic polar deserts and the boreal forests in the North to the dense matorral shrubland and wood-pasture mosaic of the montado in the South.
Some of these areas are unique landscapes while others allow visitors to experience the profound interaction of humans and the environment. They are home to common plant and animals as well as endemic species. The majority of Europe’s most threatened species can also be found within protected areas.
The term ‘protected areas’ covers areas with many different types of management. Some protected areas allow recreation facilities, housing, fishing and industry, while others are closed to most human intervention. Many of Europe’s protected areas promote specific types of land management and forestry practices which help maintain and restore species and ecosystems.
Celebrating protected areas’ important contribution to maintaining biodiversity in Europe, the EEA website has some material on protected areas in Europe, together with a range of information products on biodiversity.
Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, said: “Europe’s protected areas are vital for maintaining and restoring biodiversity. Even more important are the direct benefits these areas provide for people, in terms of health, clean water and air, economic benefits such as tourism and fisheries, and for education. Observing nature inside the confines of protected areas can help to give us early warnings of changes that will be critical to our future wellbeing.”
More information on protected areas and other biodiversity topics is available on the(BISE). This partnership platform supports the knowledge base for the European policy and implementation of the Convention of Biological Diversity and respective targets.