Direct Pressures on Biodiversity
Direct pressures on biodiversity as identified by the Millennium Ecosystem
Climate change is a reality and is
largely driven by human activity. The human drivers of climate change
include the burning of fossil fuels for transport, energy and
heating, industrial emissions and radically changing habitats
(cutting down forests, draining peatlands). The impacts of climate
change on biodiversity include changes in species distribution and
range, changes in the timing of seasonal events and changes to
habitat character. Impacts on the landscape include sea level
rise, flood events and soil erosion. The EU plays an important role
in international climate change negotiations and has pledged to
reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020.
The raised levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are
also affecting the oceans causing acidification of the water which
impacts marine life and affect ocean currents.
One of the biggest factors affecting
biodiversity in the EU is habitat
change caused by intensive agricultural land use and
managed through the Common
Agricultural Policy. Other pressures include transport and
energy infrastructure and urbanisation.
Over-exploitation of natural resources occurs
through unsustainable fishing and the extraction of raw materials
and directly links to the EU’s sustainable
consumption and production agenda.
Invasive Alien Species
It is estimated that Invasive alien species cost the EU
economy at least €12 billion each year. An
EU Invasive Species Strategy is currently being created to deal
with the problem and an
Invasive Non-Native Species Strategy for Great Britain is
already in place. JNCC is involved in the implementation of the GB
strategy as well as advising on details of the EU strategy.
Pollution poses a serious threat to
biodiversity and ecosystem services. A major concern is nutrient
enrichment of ecosystems and the transboundary nature of pollution.
There are a range of EU Directives and Strategies that address
pollution, including the EU Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution, the
Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive and the
Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.
Last updated: 13 September 2011