Danish nature in crisis, concedes minister – The Post

Danish nature in crisis, concedes minister

Lea Wermelin claims the findings of a six-year report for the EU indicates that far more effort needs to be made

Over half of the country’s land is used for farming (photo: Old Dane)
September 2nd, 2019 9:58 am| by Ben Hamilton

The state of Danish nature has not improved since 2013, according to a report compiled every six years for the European Commission.

The report is particularly concerned with the status of 60 EU-protected habitats along with 80 species, and the environment minister, Lea Wermelin, has conceded that the results are “disappointing”.

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At crisis point
“It emphasises this is a crisis we need to act on,” said Wermelin, who indicated that the government intended to follow recommendations made by Aarhus University, which upon the state’s request established much of the criteria the report was based on.

With different countries establishing their own methodology, Wermelin questions whether it is worth comparing the Danish lack of progress to other countries reporting they are doing well.

Big on farming, poor for nature
Nevertheless, despite the lack of progress, a number of initiatives are gathering steam – among them plans to increase Denmark’s comparatively small nature ratio and also to enlarge some of its forests.

Some 56 percent of Denmark’s land mass is arable (World Bank, 2015) – one of the highest proportions in the world – while nature only accounts for 13.5 percent, which globally is one of the lowest.

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A long way short
Heaths, lakes, bogs, forests and rocky reefs were identified as some of the areas for which Denmark is falling short in its efforts.

Eight percent of Denmark’s total land area is zoned as protected under the EU’s Natura 2000 guidelines – the lowest of any union member. The EU average is 18 percent.