European citizens call for more biodiversity conservation

08 November 2013 | News story
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Almost nine out of ten Europeans believe that biodiversity loss is a problem in Europe – according to a new survey by the European Commission.

Nine in ten respondents (88%) believe that biodiversity loss in Europe is a problem. The outer pie shows the results of the survey carried out in 2013, whereas the inner pie shows the results of a similar one done in 2010.

According to the survey, most of European citizens (93% agree and 62% very much agree) think that preserving biodiversity is necessary in order to maintain people’s well-being and quality of life. More than eight out of ten Europeans agree that halting biodiversity loss can guarantee the production of goods such as food, fuel and medicines, while 75% believe that biodiversity has to be conserved to sustain Europe’s economy.

The results of the survey show that Europeans see human actions as the most critical threat to biodiversity. In fact, between those respondents who are familiar with the terms “biodiversity” and “biodiversity loss”, more than nine in ten think that pollution of air and water (96%), man-made disasters (96%), intensive farming, deforestation and over-fishing (94%), climate change (91%) and conversion of natural areas to other uses (91%) threaten diversity at least to some extent. Europeans are less likely to see alien plants and animals introduced into the ecosystems as a threat to biodiversity (78%), despite the seriousness of the problem.

Citizens were asked about their personal efforts to tackle biodiversity loss and almost 38% of the respondents said they already started taking action, a proportion that has slightly increased compared to 2007 (34%), when a similar survey was conducted. One of the most popular efforts (78%) to help fight biodiversity loss and protect nature seems to be buying eco-friendly products, such as the organic or locally produced ones.

More than half of Europeans (65%) totally agree that the EU should increase its actions toward biodiversity preservation, for example by extending the areas where nature is protected. Much of the EU's efforts to protect biodiversity centre round Natura 2000. However, the survey showed that, even if an upward trend in awareness of the network is displayed, around three quarters of respondents have still not heard about it. In line with this outcome, more than seven out of ten respondents expressed the need for better informing about the importance of biodiversity.

Some 25,000 respondents from the 28 EU Member States with different social and cultural backgrounds answered this Flash Eurobarometer survey in June this year.


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