12 Jul 2023 The Nature Restoration Law: Approved in Parliament
Today, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Nature Restoration Law. The file now enters trilogue – joint negotiations with the Parliament, the Council (governments) and the European Commission. Some significant changes were made to certain Articles, which will require more clarity in the weeks ahead. In general, the Nature Restoration Law will require national restoration plans to be developed to prioritise a greater focus on habitat conservation in conjunction with key stakeholders.
For decades, FACE has underlined the need for greater focus on habitat conservation to help small game in Europe’s countryside. Prior to the Fitness Check of the Nature Directives (almost 10 years ago), FACE stressed the need for: “Greater emphasis on conservation of habitats particularly outside of protected areas and priority for species action that have the poorest status in comparison to more charismatic species”.
In practice, what will this new law mean for hunters?
It’s clear that hunters will benefit from improved biodiversity in Europe, especially for small wild game populations, many of which are decreasing. Half of our huntable birds have a non-secure EU status, and this is a major threat to sustainable hunting in Europe.
Up until now, Europe’s nature policy has mainly relied on species protection and protected areas to conserve biodiversity, but these are delivering mixed results. Going forward, national restoration plans must include workable measures that deliver for huntable species in conjunction with key stakeholders. For example, national plans should incentivise hunters’ local and regional restoration initiatives. Habitat management for game is local, and we must work to ensure that these good initiatives by hunters are fully supported and incentivised.
Active stakeholder dialogue will be critical going forward in national restoration planning. This point was made clear during the debate in the European Parliament.