Nature Correspondance: EU Nature Restoration Law needs ambitious and binding targets
Initiatives by the European Commission to restore the continent's degraded areas (J. Cortina-Segarra et al. Nature 535, 231; 2016) have proved disappointing. As the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration gathers momentum, the commission is preparing a law that has legally binding targets. To underscore the urgency, some 1,400 European scientists and 30 expert networks and institutions have signed a declaration by the Society for Ecological Restoration Europe (see go.nature.com/3st6k88).
The declaration supports setting a legal principle to maximize recovery of ecosystems (A. Cliquet et al. Restor. Ecol. https://doi.org/g958; 2021). Priorities include restoration of areas important for biodiversity and for mitigating climate change. Ambitious targets are needed for urban, agricultural and forestry landscapes. Planning and implementation must comply with ecological principles (G. D. Gann et al. Rest. Ecol. 27, S1-S46; 2019).
To align with the 30% protected-area target of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the law must complement existing directives by fixing deadlines, defining area targets, securing habitat connectivity and allocating ample resources.