Fourteen endangered habitats found in Netherlands, 28 across entire EU

Westerschelde as seen from Bath with a Doel nuclear plant in the distance
Westerschelde as seen from Bath with a Doel nuclear plant in the distance. Photo: Smiley.toerist / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time ever a list of endangered habitats in Europe was released, compiled by some 300 experts from over 30 countries working for three years on behalf of the European Commission. Across the EU there are 28 habitats that are considered "endangered" or "critically endangered". Fourteen of these habitats can be found in the Netherlands, Trouw reports.

In the Netherlands, endangered habitats include tidal rivers such as the Westerschelde and Eems, reed marshes in Noord-Holland and Zeeland, bogs like in Peel in Brabant among others, and sand banks such as the Veluwe. 

Habitats are in danger across Europe. Over a third of all habitats on the continent face threats to their survival over the long term. Major threats include intensive agriculture, livestock keeping and fisheries, urbanization, environmental pollution and the rapid discharge of water. Wetlands, grasslands, lake, rivers and ecosystems along the coast ar particularly struggling. 

There is also some good news. For example, the gray dunes along the cost in the Netherlands are doing well, while they are considered "vulnerable" almost everywhere else in Europe. And in general the forests, moorland and rocky areas across the continent are doing well. 

There are also concerns about ecosystems in and under water - marine habitats in other words. In all EU seas mussel beds, seagrass beds and estuaries - the border areas between fresh and salt water - are seriously threatened. 

This red list of habitats was compiled on behalf of the European Commission. The idea si that the findings will be used in drafting European and local policies on the protection of ecosystems in the years to come. The European Commission wants the decline in biodiversity in the EU to be completely halted by 2020. 

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