The Green Deal is an EU policy that clips together a range of sustainability measures, from energy transition (RePower EU), agriculture (Farm to Table) to anti-pollution strategies (Zero Pollution). The range of projects and policies is so large that it is difficult to keep track of them all. Some are widely commented on while still in the assumptions stage. Others are noticed only at the implementation stage.

An example of a policy that seems to have passed somewhat unnoticed is the 2022 Nature Restoration Law, published in June. EU Nature Restoration Law, a piece of legislation that sets goals for restoring ecosystems to their natural state. The announcement alone in naturalist circles has provoked positive reactions. However, other groups, such as agricultural groups, have recently taken an interest in the topic. In their case, the content of the EU RestorationLaw is rather cause for concern.

The EC’s proposal is groundbreaking from the perspective of environmental restoration, as it explicitly sets goals for restoring wetlands, riverine ecosystems, as well as forests. The goals identified in RestorationLaw are very ambitious, like many others under the aegis of the Green Deal. They stem from the need to prevent the loss of biodiversity. Among the challenges facing EU countries are:

  • Restoration of terrestrial ecosystems protected under the Natura2000 network – 30% by 2030, 90% by 2050.
  • Restoration of marine ecosystems – 60% by 2030, 90% by 2050.
  • Restore river continuity along at least 25,000 km by 2030.
  • Reversing the trend of pollinator decline by 2030.
  • Increasing biodiversity in agricultural areas, as measured by the meadow butterfly index.
  • Restoration of natural forest communities, measured by, among other things. involving forests with trees of various ages.

For each objective, RestorationLaw proposes metrics by which the progress of implementation will be determined. Although the targets are set at the EU level, action will have to be taken by all member countries.

What is of concern to the agricultural community are the targets for wetland restoration. This is because they include the restoration of areas drained by man up to 90% of the area by 2050. Drainage of wetlands was associated with the acquisition of agricultural land. This would mean that the provisions with regard to wetland restoration would therefore include these areas.

RestorationLaw is not yet in effect, so its shape may change. However, it is important that the discussion about what, how and when we want to renaturalize in Europe to reverse the trend of biodiversity loss be held as broadly as possible. Only a shared understanding of the importance of efforts to restore natural ecosystems will prevent mass extinction of organisms.

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