The Natura 2000 Network is a European ecological network constituted by biodiversity conservation areas. It is part of the initiatives of the European Union to preserve the natural spaces and resources of our natural heritage.
How was the Natura 2000 Network born?
In 1992, the Habitats Directive – Directive 92/43 / EC – on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora created the Natura 2000 Network.
Said network shall guarantee the maintenance or restoration, to a favorable state of conservation, of natural habitats and of the species concerned in their natural range.
Objectives of the Habitats Directive
The Habitats Directive aims to protect natural habitats and wild species – except birds – of the European Union. This is achieved through the establishment of an ecological network and a legal regime for the protection of species.
Identify more than 200 types of habitats and more than 900 species of community interest. And, to conserve them, it requires that measures be taken to maintain or restore them in a favorable state.
The directive urges to establish functional links of these areas with each other and with the surrounding territorial matrix, which maintains ecological coherence. And, in addition, it establishes a system of global protection of wild species and regulates their exploitation.
Annex V includes species of Community interest whose capture in nature and exploitation may be subject to management measures. And in annex VI there is a list of prohibited methods and means of capture and slaughter.
What were the objectives of creating the Natura 2000 Network?
The Natura 2000 Network is also linked to the Birds Directive – Directive 2009/147 / EC – on the conservation of wild birds. This is because it includes places for the protection of birds and their declared habitats.
The objective of the Natura 2000 Network is therefore to guarantee the conservation of certain habitats and species. For it It has special areas for protection and conservation.
Thus, the network is formed by:
- Special Conservation Areas (ZEC), where the natural habitats and the flora and fauna they host are protected.
- The Places of Community Importance (SCI). Once the corresponding conservation measures have been adopted, the SCIs are declared by the European Union as ZEC.
- And for the Special Bird Protection Areas (ZEPA).
The first two are established according to the Habitats Directive, while the SPAs according to the Birds Directive.
The Natura 2000 Network in Europe
Based on the Habitats Directive, Each State proposes a list of places which can be considered of community importance.
From the national lists, the European Commission prepares, in collaboration with the states, a proposed SCI List. That list is presented to the Habitat Committee and, in case its opinion is favorable, they are finally approved by the commission. Upon approval of the SCI List, states designate these places as special conservation areas as soon as possible.
For its part, the Birds Directive does not provide for a standardized procedure for the selection and designation of SPAs.
Just contemplate that the criteria followed are scientific. In fact, the European Commission uses the inventory of BirdLife International as a baseline.
SPAs are designated directly by the states.
The Natura 2000 Network in Spain
The Habitats and Birds Directives were transposed into our legal system through Law 42/07 on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity.
The network is currently formed in Spain by 1467 LIC and 644 ZEPA. Together they comprise a total area of more than 210,000 kmtwo. Of that total extension, more than 137 000 kmtwo They correspond to land area, which represents approximately 27% of the Spanish territory, and about 72,500 kmtwo to sea surface.
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