Wednesday, 08 December 2004

Progress in establishing the Natura 2000 network

In order to safeguard Europe’s most important wildlife areas an EU-wide network of nature protection areas is being established under the Habitats Directive – the Natura 2000 network. The reduction and loss of biodiversity in Europe has accelerated dramatically over recent decades. The pressures responsible for this loss are urban, infrastructure and tourism development, agricultural and forestry intensification.

The lists of sites foreseen in the Habitats Directive are divided in seven bio-geographic regions (Pannonian, Boreal, Continental, Atlantic, Alpine, Macaronesian and Mediterranean) within the territory of the Union. The first list for the Macaronesian region (Madeira, Azores and Canary islands) was agreed in December 2001. The second list was adopted in December 2003 for the Alpine region. The lists are established on the basis of proposals made by the Member States, which are subsequently evaluated with the assistance of the European Environmental Agency.