A summary of the exchange of views is now available.
1. What are priority pests?
The 20 pests on the list published by the European Commission in October 2019 are quarantine pests that have been identified as top priorities for EU Member States based on the severity of the economic, social and environmental problems they can cause. They include Xylella fastidiosa, the Japanese beetle, the Asian long-horned beetle, citrus greening and citrus black spot.
Following a new methodology, the JRC assessed a list of quarantine pests for their potential economic, social and environmental impact on EU agriculture and forestry. The bacterium Xylella fastidiosa affecting olive trees, almond, grapevine among other important crops, as well as the Japanese beetle, Citrus Black Spot, Citrus greening and the Asian long-horned beetle are among the top ranking pests affecting plant health in Europe. This ranking has helped the Commission to list 20 quarantine pests as priority pests. The list is published today.
Rare earth elements (REEs) are used increasingly often in innovative technologies, causing these elements to enter the natural environment. They can be sourced via deep-sea mining, raising concerns about marine exposure to mining processes and waste products. This study examined how two REEs, lanthanum and yttrium, affected and stressed marine ecosystems, using young marine mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) as indicators of water quality. The researchers determine a parameter known as the ‘predicted no effect concentration’ (PNEC) for La and Y — the maximum environmental level of each of the two elements at which no effect is seen on the most sensitive organisms and which is, therefore, deemed safe for the environment.
River flooding costs billions of euros annually in the EU. When one river floods, others nearby often do so at the same time — extending the overall impact beyond the border of an individual drainage basin. With this in mind, this study analysed the spatial extent of flood events across Europe from 1960 to 2010, using data from the European Flood Database (EFD). The research presents key findings for flood forecasting, risk financing and flood-mitigation policy.
Forest root systems increase soil strength and stability, thus protecting mountainous regions against gravitational natural hazards, such as landslides. However, tree roots are affected by factors such as soil properties, climate and disturbances, such as timber-harvesting or wildfire — and, as a result, a forest’s stabilising effect can vary greatly. This study of fire-disturbed beech forests explores how this effect changes over time. The results reveal that forests which have suffered moderate and severe wildfires completely lose their protective function within 15 years, placing those regions at high risk of landslide for up to 50 years after the fires.
A summary of the hearing is now available.
The Environment Council of the EU will meet in Luxembourg on Friday 4 October 2019 to adopt negotiating directives for the COP25 Climate Change Conference, to take place in Santiago de Chile. The ministers will also determine a policy on how the circular economy could be promoted more vigorously within the EU.