Allowing Nature to Find its Way

In Allowing Nature to Find its Way, nature is considered to have a high intrinsic value. In 2050, a European Nature Network has been realised, a large coherent network of almost undisturbed nature areas with a high diversity of species. It is based on the principle of land sparing, giving priority to the extension of nature areas needed for the conservation of species diversity in Europe. Common ground for nature development is found by relating it to a strong local socio-economic agenda. Nature areas are large enough to support specific economic activities without compromising nature objectives.

Why?

Allowing Nature to Find its Way aims to halt the decline in species and habitats in Europe. It is believed that creating possibilities to experience wilderness will stimulate people to feel more connected to nature.

What?

By 2050, fragmentation of and environmental pressures on nature areas have been stopped and their vulnerability to climate change has been reduced. Europe is characterised by nature reserves that are connected through a European Nature Network, consisting of large nature areas connected by natural landscape elements and natural water systems.

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Nature reserves consist of self-regulating natural systems, which include sustainable populations of top predators, some of them reintroduced. Regulated access for people to experience the magnificent scenes of the nature reserves, is a vital form of income from tourism for local communities.

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The development of a European Nature Network partly takes place on High Nature Value farmland, which otherwise would have been abandoned. In intensively used areas, corridors with a high abundance of species are maintained.

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By 2050, natural dynamics have been reintroduced for many rivers by allowing them to meander. Banks of rivers and lakes have largely been greened, reducing barriers for many species and providing natural gradients. In most rivers and lakes, the ecological water quality is high.

Nature and landscapes penetrate deep into the urban areas of 2050. In cities, people can experience wilderness up-close, for example in parks, ponds and rivers. Urban nature has enough room for natural processes and is managed in an ecological way.

How?

  • The described state of nature, first of all, was realised by the EU, implementing a European Nature Network to meet international agreements on reversing the decrease in species diversity.
  • This state of nature in 2050 is being realised through ‘novel governance’. The EU took the initiative for a spatial vision, because the European Nature Network stretches across the national borders of Member States. The EU is seeking cooperation of the public, and civic and private organisations, especially on national and regional levels.
  • The EU developed an ambitious programme for the implementation of nature policy after 2020. Connecting nature development with the local socio-economic agenda provided common ground for developing consensus. Land was acquired and contracts were signed with private landowners to financially compensate them for restrictions in the use of their land, to ensure conservation.