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June 18th, 2013
Our Natural Europe: Conservation Stories Show Importance of Local Action

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When fishermen in the Koster Sea in Southern Sweden understood the value of the ecosystems beneath the waves, they voluntarily agreed to change fishing practices. The area became Sweden’s first marine national park in 2006.

The Swedish story is one of three new publications from Our Natural Europe, or ‘ONE’, a series of articles published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and Eionet partners demonstrating the importance of biodiversity and its connection to people. Overall, they highlight the importance of local action in addressing biodiversity loss.

A story on Romania describes efforts to maintain populations of the red-footed falcon (Falco verpertinus), which is classified as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List. Numbers of the birds, which live interdependently with rooks, have fallen since the 1990s when agriculture intensified in Romania.

The Turkish story focuses on Lake Tuz in the middle of the Anatolian plain. The salt lake is the source of most of Turkey’s salt, and is also renowned as a unique ecosystem with its rare and endangered halophytic (salt-loving) plants and insects, some of which are found only in this area.

The three stories published today follow others including a story on organic apple production in Switzerland, webcap mushrooms in Finland and Poland’s Białowieża Forest, the last refuge of the European bison.

Taken as a whole, the ONE stories illustrate the biodiversity of Europe and its varied ecosystems, showing the threats and pressures they face, including habitat fragmentation and destruction, invasive alien species, pollution, over-harvesting and climate change.

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