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Goal 15 Life on Land

Goal 15 Life on Land

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

The CSO, through Ireland's Institute for SDGs (IIS), supports reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Peace and personal security

Share of forest area

SDG_15_10 measures the proportion of forest ecosystems in comparison to the total area. Data used for this indicator is derived from the Land Use and Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS). The LUCAS land use and land cover classification has been adapted to FAO forest definitions, distinguishing between the categories 'forests' and 'other wooded land'. LUCAS surveys are carried out in-situ, this means that observations are made and registered on the ground by field surveyors. A mixed panel approach is used, so some points are visited in subsequent years. In the field, the surveyor classifies the land cover and the visible land use according to the harmonized LUCAS Survey land cover and land use classifications. See Table 15.1 and Figure 15.1.

Table 15.1 - SDG_15_10 Share of forest area, 2015-2018

X-axis labelEuropean UnionIreland

Land degradation

Soil sealing index

SDG_15_41 estimates the increase in sealed soil surfaces with impervious materials due to urban development and construction (e.g. buildings, constructions and laying of completely or partially impermeable artificial material, such as asphalt, metal, glass, plastic or concrete). This provides an indication of the rate of soil sealing, when areas change land use towards artificial and urban land use. The indicator builds on data from the imperviousness High Resolution Layer (a product of the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service). Imperviousness is mapped at 20m resolution and with a minimum mapping unit of 20m. The indicator is presented in the following units: Index 2006=100% of total surface total sealed surface in km2See Table 15.2 and Figure 15.2.

Table 15.2 - SDG_15_41 Soil sealing index, 2016-2017

X-axis labelEuropean UnionIreland

Estimated severe soil erosion by water

SDG_15_50 estimates the amount of soil lost by water erosion, such as from rain splash, sheet-wash and rills. This provides an indication of the area affected by a certain rate of soil erosion (severe soil loss, E>10 tonnes/hectare/year). This area is expressed in km2 and as a percentage of the total non-artificial erosive area in the country. Where there is no area of land that is in risk of being subject to soil erosion by water of more than 10 tonnes per hectare, a country will have a zero value. Soil erosion may still be occurring in areas of those countries, but at a rate of less than 10 tonnes per hectare. These numbers are estimated from soil-erosion susceptibility models and should not be taken as measured values. Where there is no area of land that shows a risk of soil erosion by water of more than 10 tonnes per hectare, a country will have a zero value. Risk of soil erosion may still be present in areas of those countries, but at a rate of less than 10 tonnes per hectare. See Table 15.3 and Figure 15.3.

Table 15.3 - SDG_15_50 Estimated soil erosion by water - area affected by severe erosion rate, 2000-2016

X-axis labelEuropean UnionIreland


Terrestrial protected area

SDG_15_20 measures the surface of terrestrial protected areas. The indicator comprises nationally designated protected areas and Natura 2000 sites. A nationally designated area is an area protected by national legislation. The Natura 2000 network comprises both marine and terrestrial protected areas designated under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives with the goal to maintain or restore a favourable conservation status for habitat types and species of EU interest. See Table 15.4.

Table 15.4 - SDG_15_20 Surface of the terrestrial protected areas, 2014-2021

Common bird index

SDG_15_60 is an index and integrates the abundance and the diversity of a selection of common bird species associated with specific habitats. Rare species are excluded. Three groups of bird species are represented: common farmland species (39 species), common forest species (34 species) and all common bird species (167 species; including farmland and forest species). The indices are presented for EU-aggregates only and with smoothed values. The index draws from data produced by the European Bird Census Council and its Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme programme. Data coverage has increased from 9 to 22 EU member states over the period 1990 to 2010, with 25 countries covered as of the reference year 2011. These numbers of participating countries include the UK. UK data have been removed from the aggregate EU27_2020 aggregate. See Table 15.5 and Figure 15.4.

Table 15.5 - SDG_15_60 Common bird index by type of species - EU aggregate, 2014-2021

X-axis labelAll common speciesCommon farmland speciesCommon forest species

Grassland butterfly index

SDG_15_61 The EU grassland butterfly index integrates the population trends of 17 butterfly species monitored across the EU and has been calculated from data from 18 EU member states (Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden). The start year of national time series ranges from 1990 until 2016, therefore the index is currently presented as an EU aggregate only with smoothed values interpolating annual index values.

The data are integrated and provided by the European Butterfly Monitoring Scheme partnership and the SPRING (Strengthening Pollinator Recovery through INdicators and monitorinG)-project. See Table 15.6 and Figure 15.5.

Table 15.6 - SDG_15_61 Grassland butterfly index - EU aggregate, 2014-2020

X-axis labelEuropean Union Aggregate