New EU Nature Restoration Law: Explained

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

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The European Union (EU) approved its Nature Restoration Plan in June. This plan, the EU Nature Restoration Law, marks a significant step in the EU’s 2030 biodiversity strategy. If you are unaware, it is a key component of the European Green Deal. The new law aims to restore degraded ecosystems across the continent, both on land and at sea.

EU nature restoration law

Goals of the Restoration Law

The primary goal of the new legislation is to facilitate the long-term recovery of ecosystems. The law focuses on several key objectives:

  • Promoting the recovery of biodiversity and resilient natural environments.
  • Supporting the EU’s climate mitigation and adaptation goals.
  • Meeting international environmental commitments.

According to the European Commission, 81% of habitats in the EU are currently in poor condition. Additionally, one in three bee and butterfly species are in decline. The law seeks to address these critical issues by setting ambitious restoration targets.

Specific Targets and Measures

The Nature Restoration Law sets out detailed targets to be achieved by 2030 and 2050. By 2030, restoration efforts should cover at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas. By 2050, all ecosystems in need of restoration should be addressed. Priority will be given to areas within the Natura 2000 network, which includes 27,000 protected sites.

Key specific targets are:

  • Addressing the decrease in pollinator populations by 2030.
  • Ensure that there is no net loss of green urban spaces and tree cover by 2030, followed by an increase.
  • Increasing organic carbon stocks.
  • Restoring drained peatlands used in agriculture.
  • Enhancing habitats for marine species like dolphins, porpoises, sharks, and seabirds.
  • Restoring at least 25,000 km of rivers to a free-flowing state by 2030.

Implementation and Costs

EU countries are required to submit National Restoration Plans to the European Commission by mid-2026. These plans will outline how each country intends to meet the restoration targets. The countries will monitor and report on progress, with technical reports prepared by the European Environment Agency.

A research paper from December 2022 estimates the annual cost of restoring 30% of habitats listed under the Habitats Directive by 2030 to be €8.2 billion. However, this figure does not cover the entire scope of the restoration law, which includes marine and urban ecosystems and other habitats not listed under the Habitats Directive.

The EU Nature Restoration Law represents a bold effort to address the pressing issue of ecosystem degradation. The law aims to restore biodiversity, support climate goals, and fulfil international commitments by setting clear targets and requiring detailed national plans. The significant financial investment required highlights the scale of the challenge, but the EU’s commitment to this ambitious plan signals a strong dedication to environmental restoration and sustainability.

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  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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