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Crop Biotech Update

Alarming Decline in Europe's Fauna and Flora

November 25, 2011

The European Red List, a part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, reports that a considerable portion of Europe's native fauna and flora is showing an alarming decline. A large proportion of vascular plants, molluscs, and freshwater fish fall into the threatened category.

European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik said: "The well-being of people in Europe and all over the world depends on goods and services that nature provides. If we don't address the reasons behind this decline and act urgently to stop it, we could pay a very heavy price indeed."

Wild relatives of crop plants which are vital for food security are included in the vascular plant category. Crop plants that show levels of threat are sugar beet, wheat, oat and lettuce which are economically important crops in Europe.

The EU is responding to the threats to fauna and flora with a new Biodiversity Strategy which aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020.

For full details, see http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/redlistand http://www.iucnredlist.org/europe.  A news article is at http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/1387&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en