Nature Restoration Law adopted: what this breaking news means

On 17th of June 2024 – breaking news was announced- the EU Council adopted the Nature Restoration Law. This piece of news has a major meaning for all EU citizens and all species including pollinators

NRL has been sealed after the long process of negotiation

Nature Restoration Law,  called shortly NRL, aims at the restoration of the EU’s land and sea ecosystems. Its goal is to reverse the severe decline of the EU’s nature where currently only 15 % of habitats are in good condition. NRL, for the first time in history, obliges states to put adequate measures in place to restore ecosystems – precisely at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030, at least 60% by 2040, and at least 90% by 2050.

For the first time in history, legally binding targets aiming at ecosystem restoration will be introduced in the EU at this scale. The NRL was being prepared and negotiated for a very long time. It passed through many changes in the process to finally be voted in the EU Parliament in November 2023. Even though, the new regulation has been passed in the EU parliament, it was waiting to be adopted by the EU Council until now. Thanks to the change in vote from the side of Austria and Slovakia, the required majority has been obtained and Nature Restoration Law has been sealed.

Importance of the NRL for Parnassius apollo and all other pollinators.

This law will play a major role in the restoration of all ecosystems and support all species. Here few aspects of how it will impact wild pollinators:

-Major threats for pollinators, such as fragmentation of habitats and low biodiversity in agricultural land areas will be now addressed systemically and real measures will have to be introduced by states to prevent and reverse these processes.

-States will need to put measures in place to reverse the declining trend of pollinators by 2030.

-States will need to plan and submit national restoration plans to the EU Commission, showing how they will deliver on the targets.

-As states will need to measure the accomplishment of the targets, data about pollinators can become a very important source of information for evaluation for them.

-The Grassland Butterfly Index will be optional to measure the biodiversity enhancement in farmland areas, which gives importance to pollinators as indicators of biodiversity.

Parnassius apollo in its historical habitat, Natura 2000 area. Poland. Photo by:Julia Hava,

What can we contribute as one of LIFE’s projects 

There are different ways in which LIFE projects can contribute to a larger perspective. Through providing data, developing and communicating best practices for conservation, and sharing experiences built through cooperation with a very diverse stakeholder network.

Data on pollinators, so on meadows and grasslands are important to monitor conditions in the proximity of and on agricultural land.  LIFE projects build best practices – for example on grazing to enhance the biodiversity of grassland, and need to adjust agro-environmental schemes for extensive grazing for these solutions to become reliable sources of income for farmers and therefore more popular solutions.

Grazing for conservation

As part of the LIFE Apollo2020 project, we work to improve conditions in grassland habitats and cooperate with multiple stakeholders: public and private, including forestry, farmers, owners of quarries and local citizens. We collaborate with all of them to build a network of habitats for the species. We also spread knowledge on the value of having biodiverse ecosystems and the many advantages of having diverse species as neighbours.

We collect the best practices on grasslands and Apollo conservation. In collaboration with all these stakeholders, we navigate challenges and look for solutions which can benefit local communities and different species. Without dialogue with all these stakeholders, our conservation actions would not have a chance to last. We will be happy to contribute our experiences and knowledge to help reverse the fragmentation of habitats, which is a serious threat to so many species.

The landscape mosaic with diverse connected natural habitats is what many species miss to be able to choose the most suitable spot for their activities – whether to hide from the heat, escape the flood or just feed. Connected habitats also ensure the possibility for migration of the species to find new locations/partners. Nature Restoration Law will be a very important step to be able to recreate secure and healthy conditions for different species to live, including us – citizens.

Knowledge of habitats lies on many levels, including local knowledge. Those working on the LIFE projects have a chance to collect very diverse experiences and have a significant role to play as a messenger between local, scientific, national and international levels. As one of LIFE projects – we are here to contribute in this messenger role. We encourage everyone to document and exchange knowledge. 

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