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Protected areas in the EU lacking in quality

Hohe Tatra

Protected areas under pressure: the High Tatras in Poland. © Christoph Lenart / PIXELIO

According to a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) more than half of the protected species and habitats in the EU are under pressure. Worldwide, just under 17,000 species are on the Red List, i.e. threatened by extinction.
The situation is particularly poor in habitats such as wetlands, dunes and open grasslands. According to the EEA the picture is slightly better when it comes to conservation efforts in Alpine and Mediterranean regions. The primary problem does not appear to be the number of protected areas, but their lack of quality and status. That is why the report believes special emphasis has to be placed on the management and evaluation of existing protected areas in order to put a halt to the slow deterioration of the habitats.
Unfortunately current developments in Slovakia's High Tatras National Park would appear to confirm the EEA's assessment. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is viewing with some concern the massive expansion of infrastructure in the protected area. It believes that the High Tatras run the risk of being reclassified from a national park to a protected landscape.
Sources and information: www.eea.europa.eu/highlights (en), www.spectator.sk/articles/view/33047/3 (en)