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Home » Council Adopts Nature Restoration Law

Council Adopts Nature Restoration Law

Jun 19, 2024

On Monday, the Council formally adopted the first of its kind regulation on nature restoration, which aims to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030, and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. The regulation seeks to mitigate climate change and the effects of natural disasters. It will help the EU to fulfil its international environmental commitments, and to restore European nature.

The new rules will help to restore degraded ecosystems across member states’ land and sea habitats, achieve the EU’s overarching objectives on climate mitigation and adaptation, and enhance food security.

The regulation sets specific, legally binding targets and obligations for nature restoration in each of the listed ecosystems – from terrestrial to marine, freshwater and urban ecosystems. Member states will put measures aiming to enhance two out of these three indicators: grassland butterflies’ population, stock of organic carbon in cropland mineral soils and share of agricultural land with high-diversity landscape features. Increasing forest birds’ population and making sure there is no net loss on urban green spaces and tree canopy cover until end of 2030 are also key measures of this new law.

Member states will put in place measures aiming to restore drained peatlands and help plant at least three billion additional trees by 2030 at the EU level. In order to turn at least 25 000 km of rivers into free-flowing rivers by 2030, member states will take measures to remove man-made barriers to the connectivity of surface waters.

In SPARCCLE, ecosystems will not only be considered as an option to reduce impacts from extreme weather on communities and help adapt to climate change, but also as themselves being affected. To this effect, a multi-timescale perspective will be adopted, as ecosystems are in constant interaction with their environment.

“With climate change, the change in frequency and intensity of extreme weather might however push ecosystems away from their ideal perturbation regime and lead to their degradation on time scales relevant to our societies. This in term might induce a change in the services provided, such as freshwater provision, heat protection, carbon storage and biomass production,” says Chahan Kropf, SPARCCLE researcher and lecturer at the ETH Zurich.

Analysis in SPARCCLE will help understand how climate impacts on ecosystems affect our ability to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.

National restoration plans

Under the new rules, member states must plan ahead and submit national restoration plans to the Commission, showing how they will deliver on the targets. They must also monitor and report on their progress, based on EU-wide biodiversity indicators.

Next steps

The regulation will now be published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force. It will become directly applicable in all member states.

By 2033, the Commission will review the application of the regulation and its impacts on the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors, as well as its wider socio-economic effects.


The European Commission proposed a nature restoration law on 22 June 2022, under the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, which is part of the European Green Deal. Over 80% of European habitats are in poor shape. Past efforts to protect and preserve nature have not been able to reverse this worrying trend.

This is why, for the first time ever, the regulation sets out to adopt measures to not only preserve but to restore nature. The regulation will help the EU reach its international commitments, in particular the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework agreed at the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15).

Adapted from a press release prepared by the Council of the EU and the European Council. Read more here.