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Many of EU's most vulnerable species under threat
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Many of the vulnerable species and their habitats protected by European Union (EU) law are under threat, according to a report by the European Commission published on Monday.

Grasslands, wetlands and coastal habitats face the greatest threats, mainly due to the decline of traditional patterns of agriculture, tourist development and climate change, said the report on the conservation status of 1,182 species and 216 habitat types in the EU.

Grasslands are mainly associated with traditional patterns of agriculture, which are disappearing throughout the EU, and the conservation status of all habitat types associated with agriculture is significantly worse than other types of habitat. Only 7 percent of such assessments are favorable, compared to 21 percent for "on-agricultural" habitats. This is due to shifts toward more intensive agriculture, abandonment of the land and poor land management.

Wetlands are being converted to other uses, and are also suffering the effects of climate change, as are habitats associated with mountain glaciers.

Coastal habitats are under increasing pressure from tourism.

The picture is not uniformly gloomy, however, and some larger, emblematic species such as the wolf, Eurasian lynx, beaver and otter are beginning to re-colonize parts of their traditional range, said the report.

The report, which covers the period between 2001 and 2006, is the most comprehensive survey of EU biodiversity ever undertaken.

(Xinhua News Agency July 14, 2009)

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