Halting the loss of Europe's biodiversity by 2010
42% of Europe's native mammals are threatened with extinction, 43% of birds, 45% of butterflies, 52% of freshwater fish. The list goes on and makes terrifying reading. Worldwide, the loss of species is even more alarming. These species form part of the Earth's biological diversity, or biodiversity - the complex but fragile web of life on which we all depend for essential goods like food and medecines as well as for vital 'services' such as regulating the climate and providing clean air and water. On 22 May 2006, the European Commission is launching an Action Plan aimed at ensuring that the European Union meets its commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity in Europe by 2010.