What is the Natura 2000 Network?
Despite the importance of the Natura 2000 Network for biodiversity conservation at the European level, very few people know about it and understand its relevance.
The Natura 2000 Network
The Natura 2000 Network is a European network of natural areas that aims to make the protection of natural and semi-natural species and habitats compatible with human activity, promoting the good conservation status of habitats and species of Community interest. It is also the most extensive network of protected areas in the world.
Basics of the Natura 2000 Network
The Natura 2000 Network was created in 1992, with the approval of Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats of wild fauna and flora, more commonly known as the Habitats Directive.
The Network is made up of two types of protection figures:
- Sites of Community Interest (SCI) / Special Areas of Conservation (SAC): SCIs are areas that present habitats or species contemplated in Annex I and II of the Habitats Directive, respectively. Once a SCI has been presented and approved by the European Commission, it is necessary to create a conservation plan in order to be constituted as a SAC.
- Special Protection Areas for Birds (SPAs): SPAs are areas that are home to wild bird species covered by the Birds Directive.
Current situation of the Natura 2000 Network at the national level
At present, the Natura 2000 Network in Spain has 1468 SCIs and 658 SPAs, with a total surface area of 222,000 km2. Of this total area, more than 138,000 km2 correspond to land area and some 84,300 km2 to marine areas. In other words, only 38% of the total surface of the Spanish Natura 2000 Network is marine.
From SUBMON, we contribute to improve the knowledge about the Natura 2000 Network through projects such as EDUCAMARES, which has the aim of raising awareness and highlighting the importance of marine Natura 2000 sites as a tool for conserving marine biodiversity in schools on the Spanish coast.
Link to see the natura 2000 sites in Spain: https://www.miteco.gob.es/es/biodiversidad/temas/espacios-protegidos/red-natura-2000/rn_espana.aspx