Stretching over 18% of the EU’s land area and almost 6% of its marine territory, Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. It offers a haven to Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats.
Natura 2000 is a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitat types which are protected in their own right. It stretches across all 27 EU countries, both on land and at sea. The aim of the network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed under both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.
Natura 2000 sites have been designated specifically to protect core areas for a sub-set of species or habitat types listed in the Habitats and Birds Directives. They are deemed to be of European importance because they are endangered, vulnerable, rare, endemic or present outstanding examples of typical characteristics of one or more of Europe’s nine biogeographical regions. In total, there are around 2000 species and 230 habitat types for which core sites need to be designated as Natura 2000 sites.