Designated areas (CSI 008) - Assessment published Nov 2005
Biodiversity (Primary topic)
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
- CSI 008
Key policy question: What measures are being taken to ensure the in situ conservation of biodiversity components?
Cumulated area of nationally designated areas over time in 30 European countries for the period 1900-2002
Note: Overlap may exist due to multiple designation for a same site but the overestimation can be masked by an &amp;quot;underestimation&amp;quot; of the inventory ( some national datasets are not complete).Downloads and more info
Cumulative surface area of sites designated for the habitats directive over time (sites of Community importance - SCIs)
Note: The figure shows the cumulative surface area of sites designated for the habitats directive over time (sites of Community importance - SCIs)
- Natura 2000 data provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV)
Cumulative surface area of sites designated for the birds directive over time (special protection areas - SPAs)
Note: The figure shows the cumulative surface area of sites designated for the birds directive over time (special protection areas - SPAs)
- Natura 2000 data provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV)
Sufficiency Index (progress in the implementation of Habitats Directive)
Note: Bars show the degree to which Member States have proposed sites that are considered sufficient to protect the habitats and species mentioned in Habitats Directive Annex I and II (situation September 2004) (marine species and habitats are not considered).
- Conclusions of the Natura 2000 biogeographic seminars provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV)
Proportion of total surface area designated under the birds directive, protected only by national instruments and covered by both (special protection areas - SPAs)
Note: The figure shows the proportion of total surface area designated under the birds directive, protected only by national instruments and covered by both (special protection areas - SPAs)Downloads and more info
Proportion of total surface area designated only for the habitats directive, protected only by national instruments, and covered by both (sites of Community importance - SCIs)
Note: The figure shows the proportion of total surface area designated only for the habitats directive, protected only by national instruments, and covered by both (sites of Community importance - SCIs)Downloads and more info
Worldwide, countries use the designation of protected areas as a means of conserving biodiversity components (genes, species, habitats, ecosystems), each country applying its own selection criteria and objectives. A part of this indicator shows that there is a significant positive trend in establishing nationally-designated areas in Europe (Figure 1).
A common perspective for the European Communities was defined in 1979 for wild birds and their habitats and in 1992 for fauna, flora and habitats by two directives. On the basis of these two legal requirements, EU Member States have classified and/or proposed sites for establishing the European Natura 2000 network. Another part of the indicator shows that there has been a steady increase in the cumulative area of sites designated for the Natura 2000 network over the past ten years, from approximately 8 to 29 million hectares under the Birds Directive as Special Protection Areas and from 0 to approximately 45 million hectares under the Habitats Directive as Sites of Community Importance (Figures 2 and 3).
Natura 2000 site designation is proportional to the representation of the specific habitat types and species within a country's territories. Some countries have greater representation of listed species and habitats than others. Therefore these countries have designated larger parts of their territory, as is the case with southern countries of Europe as well as the large countries of the north. Spain leads by contributing more than 10 million hectares, followed by Sweden with about 5 million hectares.
The sufficiency index for Natura 2000 sites designated under the Habitats Directive shows that most countries are proposing sites towards a level that is considered sufficient to achieve favourable conservation status for habitats and species covered by the Directive (Figure 4).
Figures 5 and 6 demonstrate the extent to which nationally-designated sites that already exist fulfil the criteria of the European Directives. They also provide a snapshot of the significance of the contribution of European legislation to in situ conservation in Europe.
Specific policy question: What measures are being taken to conserve or restore biodiversity at the EU level and are they effective?
Special Protection Areas classification for the Birds Directive is in progress for the last five years as proposals for Sites of Community Importance for the Habitats Directive. But the European Commission considers the network is clearly insufficient for several countries. Comparison between countries is complicated by the heterogeneous distribution and abundance of species and habitats. Some countries have a heavier burden than others in implementing the Directives(Figure 2 and 3).
The sufficiency index shows the progress in proposing sites towards a level that is considered sufficient to achieve favourable conservation status for habitats and species of the Habitats Directive (Figure 4). By September 2004, two Member States, Belgium and The Netherlands have proposed sufficient sites. This means that that they have accomplished proposing sufficient sites for all the species and habitats of the Directive occurring in their country.
The progress for the rest of the Member States is slow but good and now seven additional Member States (Denmark, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and UK) have more than 90% sufficiency in proposing sites. The ten new EU Member States are included in the Natura 2000 network and they have proposed sites under the Habitats Directive. The proposals by these Member States however, are not considered by this version of the indicator, because the data for the proposed sites have not yet been validated and submitted to the Natura 2000 database. When the data has been entered in the database it can evaluated and later on included in a future version of the indicator.
Marine areas have been excluded in the indicator, since the European Commission and the Member States are still working on selection criteria for sites for the protection of marine habitats and species.
The sites of the Natura 2000 network are adding value to the existing national designations of Member States in EU 15. The net contribution of the EU network is positive in all countries, both in the Special Protection Areas (SPAs) of the Birds Directive and in the Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) of the Habitats Directive . This can be seen in figures 5 and 6.
Nationally designated areas (CDDA)
provided by European Environment Agency (EEA)
Common Database on Designated Areas (CDDA International)
provided by United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre
Conclusions of the Natura 2000 biogeographic seminars
provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV)
More information about this indicator
See this indicator specification for more details.
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoKatarzyna Biala
EEA Management Plan2010 (note: EEA internal system)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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