Nature, landscape and biodiversity

Conservation status for the Habitats Directive, 2007-2012

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The conservation status of many of the species and natural habitats covered by the EU Habitats Directive in the Netherlands is unfavourable.

Conservation status of species and habitats

The European Union's Habitats Directive imposes obligations on Member States regarding the maintenance or restoration of a favourable conservation status of both natural habitats and species.
Every six years, Member States must report on this conservation status to the European Union. Important factors in determining the conservation status of species include population trends, population size and natural distribution, while important factors in determining the conservation status of habitats include trends in surface area, changes in habitat quality and distribution (ETC-BD, 2011).

European target for nature not yet achieved

The 2013 report by the Netherlands to the European Union shows that the conservation status of three quarters of the protected species and nearly all habitat types covered by the Habitats Directive is highly or moderately unfavourable. A comparison of the reports for the two periods (2000-2006 and 2007-2012) shows that the nationwide conservation status across all protected habitat types and species has remained more or less unchanged. Some species have improved to a less unfavourable conservation status, while some others have deteriorated. The conservation status of 4 species has improved, while that of 3 species has deteriorated compared to the previous report. This implies that the Netherlands has not yet met its target of maintaining or achieving favourable conservation status for species and habitat types, if we disregard the changes in conservation status that are caused by changes in the methodology used or improved data availability.

Policy to achieve more favourable conservation status

This indicator is part of the obligatory Habitats Directive report which was submitted to the European Union in 2013. The Dutch government's policy aims to achieve a favourable conservation status for species and habitat types covered by the Directive. The policy does not specify a particular date by which this should have been achieved. Current Dutch nature policy is based on the network of natural areas in the Netherlands (Natuurnetwerk Nederland or NNN). The Natura 2000 sites are an integral part of this NNN, and are therefore also an essential instrument to achieve the required 'favourable conservation status' for the plant and animal species covered by the European Birds and Habitats Directives.
In addition to this indicator for species and habitats covered by the Habitats Directive, there are also other core indicators: for species there are the 'Rode Lijst Indicator, 1995-2022' (red list indicator) and the 'Trendlijn meer of minder bedreigde soorten' (Trend graph for more or less threatened species), while additional indicators for ecosystems include the 'Trends in kwaliteit van landnatuur en water, 1990 - 2020' (national ecological values) and 'Ecosysteemkwaliteit (areaal), 1994-2017' (local ecological values) indicators. These indicators are based on a wider selection derived from the former National Ecological Network (EHS) policy and the current policy on NNN and the new Stelsel Natuur- en landschapsbeheer (SNL; habitat and landscape management system). The data are derived from the (annual) figures collected since 1990 in the Netwerk Ecologische Monitoring (NEM; ecological monitoring network).
Overall, these indicators all show a considerable decline of plant and animal species until 1995, followed by a slight recovery. These trends differ for the various species groups and ecosystems: butterflies and amphibians hardly show any recovery. One in three species of these groups is still threatened in the Netherlands. The ecological quality of the heathland and duneland ecosystems is still gradually deteriorating.


Archive for this indicator

Reference for this page

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2015). Conservation status for the Habitats Directive, 2007-2012 (indicator 1483, version 03 , 12 February 2015 ). Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.

The Environmental Data Compendium is a partnership of CBS, PBL, RIVM and WUR.