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Green barometer for biodiversity

Ecology Minister says France needs advance warning of risks to species and habitats

AS STUDIES show 18% of everyday urban species are disappearing, France has launched its first "biodiversity barometer" to get advance warning of problems.

Ecology Minister Nicole Bricq chose World Biodiversity Day to launch the new alert which will give 50 indicators of the health of wildlife and plants but also of natural spaces and habitats.

Her move comes as environmental group Humanité et Biodiversité called on the government to write a new national strategy for biodiversity - and create the first national agency.

Ms Bricq said that each year the state spent heavily on biodiversity and in 2009 that amounted to €1.7 billion. She added: "There can be no effective policy on protecting biodiversity without knowing exactly the present state of species, habitats and soils.

"I'm putting the reduction of the erosion of biodiversity in a central position - at the same level as our action on climate control.

"Nature works for us in immeasurable ways each day: pollinating vegetation, preventing floods, storing carbon - protecting biodiversity is protecting our ecological assets as well as our economic assets."

She highlighted that 22% of deep-sea species were in danger and that only 43.7% of the globe's surface water was seen as in good or very good state.

The barometer is available (in French) at biodiversity index

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