European Habitats Directive has fostered monitoring but not prevented species declines

Engelhardt, Eva Katharina; Bowler, Diana E. ORCID:; Hof, Christian. 2023 European Habitats Directive has fostered monitoring but not prevented species declines. Conservation Letters, 16 (3), e12948. 10, pp.

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Strong biodiversity declines have been reported across the European Union, especially in insects, despite conservation policy such as the Habitats Directive that aims to halt biodiversity loss. Using 50 years of observational data, we examined indicators for the goals of the Directive in terms of improving monitoring efforts and occupancy trends of butterfly and dragonfly annex species in a central European region. We quantified annual monitoring effort and used occupancy-detection models to compare species trends for 18 years before and after legal implementation of the Directive. Monitoring efforts increased after implementation, while occupancy trends both improved and deteriorated. Contrary to its main goal, the European Habitats Directive did not prevent a worsening of all annex species’ occupancy trends in the studied region. While the increased monitoring efforts aid biodiversity assessments, more serious broad-scale conservation measures are needed to halt biodiversity loss across Europe.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1755-263X
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: biodiversity monitoring, central Europe, Germany, insect conservation, insect declines, Lepidoptera, Natura 2000, Odonata, policy evaluation, special areas of conservation
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
General > Science Policy
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Date made live: 06 Nov 2023 10:23 +0 (UTC)

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