Dutch nature slowly recovering; WWF

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has issued its bi-annual Living Planet Report for 2014, which reveals that globally, biodiversity has dropped with 52 percent in the last 40 years. For The Netherlands, the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) has published its own Netherlands Living Planet Report, which shows that there is a possibility for nature in the country to make a recovery. 

The Living Planet Report's Index, which records populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, shows that the population of animals on our planet halved between 1970 and 2010. Our global ecological footprint, which is the sum of a country's impact on the environment based on pollution, consumption and industry, has also been rising since the 1960s.

The Netherlands, with its population of over 16.5 billion people, does not have the cleanest ecological footprint. Based on the WWF's Report, The Netherlands' footprint, in comparison to its biocapacity, was much higher than the world average.

Still, the CBS publishes a hopeful report that shows Dutch nature could recover. After 1950, many animal species in The Netherlands became endangered. In the last 25 years, however, populations have grown with an average 22 percent. Especially mammals, birds and reptiles are coming back thanks to investments into nature protection.

The Netherlands is a small country, and it is highly overpopulated, but wildlife protection is growing in importance. According to data from the World Bank, 19.5 percent of Dutch territory was protected nature area in 2012, contrasted to only 12.4 percent in 2009.

Since 1990, spoonbills, Montagu's harriers and barn owls are coming back. This would lead to the conclusion that areas where nature previously disappeared is also recovering, as there would be sufficient space for these animals to make their habitats.

Worldwide, however, several animal species are still suffering. The effects of habitat destruction, hunting, over-fishing, and poaching are cutting population sizes. The number fish, reptiles and amphibians in lakes, swamps and rivers across the globe have dropped with a staggering 76 percent over the last 40 years. The WWF says that the most worrying areas for biodiversity are in Latin-America and Southeast Asia.