European Union Natura 2000

  • Robert J. McInnes
Reference work entry


Natura 2000 is the centerpiece of European Union (EU) nature and biodiversity policy. It is an EU-wide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), designated by member states under the Habitats Directive, and also incorporates Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which they designate under the 1979 Birds Directive. The establishment of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas also fulfills a European community obligation under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Today, the network comprises over 25,000 sites representing 18% of the area of the member states of the European Union.


International agreements Habitats directive Birds directive Transboundary agreements 


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  2. EC. Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. Off J L. 1992;206:7–50.
  3. Evans D. Building the European Union’s Natura 2000 network. Nat Conserv. 2012;1:11–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Keulartz J, Leistra G. Legitimacy in European nature conservation policy: case studies in multilevel governance. Heidelberg: Springer; 2008, 282 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RM Wetlands and Environment LtdLittleworthUK

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