Fragmented habitats, excessively high nitrogen levels, invasive species and climate change all contribute to the deteriorating state of Flanders nature, according to a situation report by the Institute for nature and forest (INBO).
Most of the 43 indicators checked against Flemish and European targets are in red, the environmental body is reporting.
Only 18 of the 69 plant and animal species “of concern” in Europe appear to be in good health. The vast majority are considered in “poor” or “very poor” state, such as the Brown Western Spadefoot toad, a type of amphibian, and the Lucanus servus stag beetle.
“Fifteen species have bounced back slightly these past 11 years, such as the green tree frog, but the general situation is not good,” Lieve Vriens, report coordinator, commented.
This observations also applies to the 2,624 protected species on the red list : close to half are in difficulty, while 800 are on the brink of extinction.
In the meantime, the existing green spaces are not enough when measured against the objectives set, De Morgen reports. On top of that, the last five years were the hottest ever recorded, causing “flagrant drought symptoms among deciduous and pine trees,” according to the INBO.
Minister Zuhal Demir told De Morgen that new measures will be taken to protect vulnerable species, paying particular attention to the resilience of habitats.