The European union's 2010 target: Putting rare species in focus

Benoît Fontaine, Philippe Bouchet, Kees Van Achterberg, Miguel Angel Alonso-Zarazaga, Rafael Araujo, Manfred Asche, Ulrike Aspöck, Paolo Audisio, Berend Aukema, Nicolas Bailly, Maria Balsamo, Ruud A. Bank, Peter Barnard, Carlo Belfiore, Wieslaw Bogdanowicz, Tom Bongers, Geoffrey Boxshall, Daniel Burckhardt, Jean Louis Camicas, Przemek ChylareckiPierangelo Crucitti, Louis Deharveng, Alain Dubois, Henrik Enghoff, Anno Faubel, Romolo Fochetti, Olivier Gargominy, David Gibson, Ray Gibson, Maria Soledad Gómez López, Daniel Goujet, Mark S. Harvey, Klaus Gerhard Heller, Peter Van Helsdingen, Hannelore Hoch, Herman De Jong, Yde De Jong, Ole Karsholt, Wouter Los, Lars Lundqvist, Wojciech Magowski, Renata Manconi, Jochen Martens, Jos A. Massard, Gaby Massard-Geimer, Sandra J. Mcinnes, Luis F. Mendes, Eberhard Mey, Verner Michelsen, Alessandro Minelli, Claus Nielsen, Juan M. Nieto Nafría, Erik J. Van Nieukerken, John Noyes, Thomas Pape, Hans Pohl, Willy De Prins, Marian Ramos, Claudia Ricci, Cees Roselaar, Emilia Rota, Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa, Hendrik Segers, Richard Zur Strassen, Andrzej Szeptycki, Jean Marc Thibaud, Alain Thomas, Tarmo Timm, Jan Van Tol, Wim Vervoort, Rainer Willmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


The European Union has adopted the ambitious target of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010. Several indicators have been proposed to assess progress towards the 2010 target, two of them addressing directly the issue of species decline. In Europe, the Fauna Europaea database gives an insight into the patterns of distribution of a total dataset of 130,000 terrestrial and freshwater species without taxonomic bias, and provide a unique opportunity to assess the feasibility of the 2010 target. It shows that the vast majority of European species are rare, in the sense that they have a restricted range. Considering this, the paper discusses whether the 2010 target indicators really cover the species most at risk of extinction. The analysis of a list of 62 globally extinct European taxa shows that most contemporary extinctions have affected narrow-range taxa or taxa with strict ecological requirements. Indeed, most European species listed as threatened in the IUCN Red List are narrow-range species. Conversely, there are as many wide-range species as narrow-range endemics in the list of protected species in Europe (Bird and Habitat Directives). The subset of biodiversity captured by the 2010 target indicators should be representative of the whole biodiversity in terms of patterns of distribution and abundance. Indicators should not overlook a core characteristic of biodiversity, i.e. the large number of narrow-range species and their intrinsic vulnerability. With ill-selected indicator species, the extinction of narrow-range endemics would go unnoticed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-185
Number of pages19
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


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