General Article Biodiversity loss degrades natural capital and ecosystem services

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Biodiversity includes all living organisms found in the atmosphere, on land and in water. All species have a role and provide the ‘fabric of life’ on which we depend: from the smallest bacteria in the soil to the largest mammal in the ocean. The four basic building blocks of biodiversity are genes, species, habitats and ecosystems. The preservation of biodiversity is fundamental to human wellbeing and sustainable provisioning of natural resources. Furthermore, it is closely intertwined with other environmental issues, such as adaptation to climate change or protecting human health.
Europe’s biodiversity is heavily influenced by human activities including agriculture, forestry and fisheries, as well as urbanisation. Roughly half of Europe’s land area is farmed, most forests are exploited, and natural areas are increasingly fragmented by urban areas and infrastructural development. The marine environment is also heavily affected, not just by unsustainable fisheries, but also by other a...

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