Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 601–618 | Cite as

Missing links: how individual’s can contribute to reserve policy enforcement on the example of the European Union

  • Volker MauerhoferEmail author


This comment looks at opportunities available to individuals alone or as a member of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to enforce reserve policy at the EU level to improve the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation. Based on a literature review, recent developments in certain EU policies (i.e., Nature Conservation Policy, Common Agricultural Policy, Regional Policy, Århus—Public Participation and Access to Justice) are assessed by means of a SEPO analysis. SEPO is a French acronym that stands for the successes (succès), failures (echècs), potentials (potentialités), and obstacles (obstacles). This method aims to analyse a situation from four dimensions of the past (successes and failures) and future (potentials and obstacles). The analysis shows different ways in which individuals can contribute to reserve policy enforcement (i.e., by public interest complaint based on private rights) and identifies public funding opportunities for research and management of reserves. Some of these mechanisms have just recently been introduced (e.g., Århus rights and several funding opportunities). Not surprisingly, the widest set of opportunities is provided by the Nature Conservation Policy. The other three policies (Common Agricultural Policy, Regional Policy, Århus—Public Participation and Access to Justice) touch on reserve conservation only in an additional way, either horizontally or vertically. The analysis also identifies inter-linkages between the different policies with regard to reserve conservation, which may be used by individuals to enforce policy either in a protective or cooperative way.


Access to justice Århus Convention Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) European Union Natura 2000 Non-governmental organisations Protected area Public participation Regional Policy Direct effect 



Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds


Birds Directive


Cohesion Fund


Convention on Migratory Species


Treaty establishing the European Union or European Community


European Court of Justice


European Regional Development Fund


European Social Fund


European Union


Habitats Directive


Non-governmental organisation


Successes (succès), failures (echècs), potentials (potentialités), obstacles (obstacles)


Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats


Trans-European Network



The author is grateful to Will Cresswell, Elaine C. Hsiao and four anonymous reviewers for her helpful comments on earlier drafts of this comment. In particular I also thank Susan Sellars-Shrestha for a sorrow review of the English. Of course, the usual disclaimer applies.


  1. Bell S, McGillivray D (2008) Environmental law, 7th edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  2. Bengtsson J, Ahnström J, Weibull A-C (2005) The effects of organic agriculture on biodiversity and abundance: a meta-analysis. J Appl Ecol 42:261–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Billeter R, Liira J, Bailey D et al (2008) Indicators for biodiversity in agricultural landscapes: a pan-European study. J Appl Ecol 45:141–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bishop RC (1978) Endangered species and uncertainty: the economics of a safe minimum standard. Am J Agric Econ 60:10–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. BMLFUW (Federal Austrian Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Economy) (2007) Grüner Bericht 2007, The Republic of Austria, Vienna. www.grü
  6. Brady K (1998) New convention on access to information and public participation in environmental matters. Environ Policy Law 28:69–75Google Scholar
  7. Byron H, Arnold L (2008) TEN-T and Natura 2000: the way forward: An assessment of the potential impact of the TEN—T Priority Projects on Natura 2000, Final report—May 2008, With input from Zoltan Waliczky and Sacha Cleminson, RSPB; Ellen Townsend, BirdLife International; Nina Renshaw, T&E; Pieter de Pous, EEB; Alberto Arroyo, WWF; and Magda Stoczkiewicz, CEE Bankwatch NetworkGoogle Scholar
  8. Cirelli MT (2002) Legal trends in wildlife management, FAO Legislative Studies No. 74, RomeGoogle Scholar
  9. Ciriacy-Wantrup SV (1952) Resource conservation: economies and politics. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  10. Council of Europe (1982) Convention on the conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, opened by the Council of Europe for signature at 19 September 1979 in Bern, Switzerland. (
  11. Devictor V, Godet L, Julliard R et al (2007) Can common species benefit from protected areas? Biol Conserv 139:29–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Donald PF, Sanderson FJ, Burfield IJ et al (2006) Further evidence of continent-wide impacts of agricultural intensification on European farmland birds 1990–2000. Agric Ecosyst Environ 116:189–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Donald PF, Sanderson FJ, Burfield IJ et al (2007) International conservation policy delivers benefits for birds in Europe. Science 317:810–813CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Dross M (2005) Access to justice in EU member states. J Eur Environ Plan Law 2:22–31Google Scholar
  15. EEC (1979) Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds. Official Journal L 103, 25/04/1979, 1–18 and its amending actsGoogle Scholar
  16. EEC (1985) Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. Official Journal L 175, 05/07/1985, 40–48 and its amending actsGoogle Scholar
  17. EEC (1992) Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. Official Journal L 206, 22/07/1992, 7–50 and its amending actsGoogle Scholar
  18. European Commission. 2006. Biodiversity is LIFE, Leaflet. Accessed 25 June 2008
  19. European Commission (2007a) Guide—Cohesion policy 2007-13 Commentaries and official texts. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, LuxemburgGoogle Scholar
  20. European Commission (2007b) Communication from the Commission—a Europe of results—applying community law from 5th September 2007, COM/2007/0502 finalGoogle Scholar
  21. European Commission (2008) Official complaint form. Accessed 11 June 2008
  22. European Union (1999) Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999 of 17 May 1999 on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and amending and repealing certain regulations. Official Journal L 160, 26/6/1999, 80–102 and its amending actsGoogle Scholar
  23. European Union (2001) The Treaty establishing the European Union. Official Journal C 80, 10 March 2001 in its consolidated version from Official Journal C 321E of 29 December 2006Google Scholar
  24. European Union (2002) Decision No. 1600/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 July 2002 laying down the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme. Official Journal L 242, 10/9/2002, 1–15Google Scholar
  25. European Union (2003) Council Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003 of 29 September 2003 establishing common rules for direct support schemes under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers and amending regulations (EEC) No 2019/93, (EC) No 1452/2001, (EC) No 1453/2001, (EC) No 1454/2001, (EC) 1868/94, (EC) No 1251/1999, (EC) No 1254/1999, (EC) No 1673/2000, (EEC) No 2358/71 and (EC) No 2529/2001 and Commission Regulation No 796/2004. Official Journal L 270, 21/10/2003, 1–69Google Scholar
  26. European Union (2003a) Directive 2003/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 providing for public participation in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment and amending with regard to public participation and access to justice Council Directives 85/337/EEC and 96/61/EC—Statement by the Commission Official Journal L 156, 25/6/2003, 17–25Google Scholar
  27. European Union (2004) Directive 2004/35/CE of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage. Official Journal L 143, 30/4/2004, 56–75 and its amending actGoogle Scholar
  28. European Union (2005) Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 of 20 September 2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Official Journal L 277, 21/10/2005, 1–40Google Scholar
  29. European Union (2005a) Council Decision 2005/370/EC of 17 February 2005 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. Official Journal L 124, 17/5/2005, 1–3Google Scholar
  30. European Union (2006a) Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the European Regional Development Fund and repealing regulation (EC) No 1783/1999. Official Journal L 210, 31/7/2006, 1–11Google Scholar
  31. European Union (2006b) Council Decision 2006/957/EC of 18 December 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of an amendment to the convention on access to information, public participation in decision making and access to justice in environmental matters. Official Journal L 386, 29/12/2006, 46–49Google Scholar
  32. European Union (2006c) Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Århus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies. Official Journal L 264, 25/9/2006, 13–19Google Scholar
  33. European Union (2007a) Regulation (EC) No 614/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 May 2007 concerning the Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE+). Official Journal L 149, 9/6/2007, 1–17Google Scholar
  34. European Union (2007b) Information note from 25 September 2007 on the meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council from 26 and 27 September 2007. General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union—Press OfficeGoogle Scholar
  35. European Union (2007c) Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91. Official Journal L 189, 20.7.2007, 1–23Google Scholar
  36. European Union (2007d) Presidency Conclusions No. 7224/1/07-REV 1 of the Brussels European Council (8/9 March 2007) from 2 May 2007. Council of the European UnionGoogle Scholar
  37. European Union (2008a) Interinstitutional Files No. 8847/08 from 5 May 2008 including the Presidency suggestions for a common sustainability scheme. Council of the European UnionGoogle Scholar
  38. European Union (2008b) Press Release No. 5509/08 from 21 January 2008 on the 2843 Council meeting Agriculture and Fisheries, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union—Press OfficeGoogle Scholar
  39. Giljum S, Hak T, Hinterberger F et al (2005) Environmental governance in the European Union: strategies and instruments for absolute decoupling. Int J Sustain Dev 8:31–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gregory RD, Vorisek P, Noble DG et al (2008) The generation and use of bird population indicators in Europe. Bird Conserv Int 18:223–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Heath MF, Evans MI, Hoccom DG et al (eds) (2000) Important bird areas in Europe: priority sites for conservation, vol 1 (Northern Europe) and vol 2 (Southern Europe). Bird Life International, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  42. Hubacek K, Mauerhofer V (2008) Future generations: economic, legal and institutional aspects. Futures 40:413–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Jans JH, Vedder HHB (2008) European environmental law, 3rd edn. Europa Law Publishing, GroningenGoogle Scholar
  44. Kleijn D, Baquero RA, Clough Y et al (2006) Mixed biodiversity benefits of agri-environment schemes in five European countries. Ecol Lett 9:243–254CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Krämer L (2003a) Access to letters of formal notice and reasoned opinions in environmental matters. Eur Environ Law Rev 12:197–203Google Scholar
  46. Krämer L (2003b) The future role of the ECJ in the development of European Environmental Law. In: Jans JH (ed) The European Convention and the future of European Environmental Law. Europa Law Publishing, Groningen, pp 84–98Google Scholar
  47. Krämer L (2005) The dispersion of authority in the European Union and its impact on environmental legislation. In: Wijen F, Zoeteman K, Pieters J (eds) A handbook of globalization and environmental policy. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp 545–565Google Scholar
  48. Mauerhofer V (2008a) Conservation of wildlife in the European Union with a focus on Austria. In: Panjwani R (ed) Wildlife law: a global perspective. American Bar Association (ABA) Publishing, Chicago, pp 1–55Google Scholar
  49. Mauerhofer V (2008b) ‘Biodiversity damage’ liability in the Environmental Liability Directive—its definition and delimitation from more stringent EU, international and national norms. Elni Rev 1:19–24Google Scholar
  50. Mauerhofer V (2008c) 3-D sustainability: an approach for priority setting in situation of conflicting interests towards a sustainable development. Ecol Econ 65:496–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. NADEL (2005). Handout on PCM and Project Planning for the SDC–JPO course on “Project Cycle Management” Biel, at 15–17 June 2005, at the Postgraduate course on Developing Countries at the ETH ZurichGoogle Scholar
  52. RAMSAR (1971) Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat concluded in Ramsar, Iran, 2.2.1971, and as amended by the Protocol of 3.12.1982 and the Amendments of 28.5.1987. Accessed 25 June 2008
  53. Schmid E, Sinabell F (2007) On the choice of farm management practices after the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy in 2003. J Environ Manag 82:332–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Stoll-Kleemann S, O’Riordan T (2002) From participation to partnership in biodiversity protection: experience from Germany and South Africa. Soc Nat Resour 15:161–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. UNECE (1997) Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.
  56. UNEP (1979) Convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (also known as CMS or Bonn Convention) concluded in Bonn at 23 June 1979. Accessed 25 June 2008
  57. UNEP (2005) Convention on Migratory Species the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), concluded on 16 June 1995 in the Hague, the Netherlands. Accessed 25 June 2008
  58. Wates J (2005) The Aarhus convention: a driving force for environmental democracy. J Eur Environ Plan Law 1:1–11Google Scholar
  59. Wils W (1994) The birds directive 15 years later: a survey of the case law and a comparison with the habitats directive. J Environ Law 6:219–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wolf S, White A, Stanley N (2001) Principles of environmental law, 3rd edn. Cavendish Publishing, LondonGoogle Scholar
  61. Wrbka T, Schindler S, Pollheimer M et al (2008) Impact of the Austrian agri-environmental scheme on diversity of landscapes, plants and birds. Community Ecol 9:217–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. WWF (2006) Conflicting EU-Funds: Pitting Conservation against Unsustainable Development, WWF Global Species Programme, Vienna (Austria)Google Scholar
  63. Young J, Watt A, Nowicki P et al (2005) Towards sustainable land use: identifying and managing the conflicts between human activities and biodiversity conservation in Europe. Biodivers Conserv 14:1641–1661CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ViennaViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations