Halting biodiversity loss in the Netherlands: Evaluation of progress

20-05-2008 | Publication

In the Netherlands, biodiversity has steadily declined during the past century. Over the last years, this decline has been gradually slowing down. The implemented nature and environmental policy is starting to have its effect, but this will probably be insufficient to adhere to the European agreement of halting biodiversity loss by 2010. Decreasing overfertilisation and acidification have had positive effects on the loss of biodiversity. Land available to plant and animal species is increasing, due to the expansion of nature areas. However, the number of endangered species is also growing larger and many internationally important species are declining.

Biodiversity loss in the Netherlands is slowing down, but at a low level

The Member States of the European Union agreed to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010. This brochure is a first attempt to evaluate the progress towards the 2010-target in the Netherlands, by means of the set of headline indicators as selected under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the European Environment Agency and European Union. The brochure is presented on may 20th 2008 during the 9th Conference of the Parties (COP 9) of the CBD in Bonn.


  • Overall, biodiversity loss has not been halted yet. Homogenisation still continues.
  • Nationally, at the ecosystem level, biodiversity loss is halting slowly, but at a low biodiversity level (± 15%).
  • Looking in more detail, heathlands, grasslands and agriculture are still in decline. Forest and dunes show improvements.
  • At the species level less-vulnerable species show improvements, while the most vulnerable species show further decline. The Red List grows.
  • Agro-genetic diversity of breeds is low and probably continues to decline.
  • Most species and habitats of European interest are in an unfavourable conservation status.
  • The biodiversity footprint for national consumption corresponds with an area of about 3 times the Netherlands that has lost its entire biodiversity (outside the Netherlands).
  • Most pressures decrease, but not sufficiently.
  • Sustainable use in fisheries, forestry and agriculture is not on track, yet.
  • Public support and awareness is high, although slightly decreasing.

This brochure evaluates the progress towards the 2010-target in the Netherlands based on the set of 2010-indicators as selected for the Convention on Biological Diversity. They were further developed under the Streamlining European 2010 Biodiversity Indicators project (SEBI 2010; EEA Technical report No 11/2007). This evaluation is a first implementation of the 2010-indicators in the Netherlands.

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