Sites designated under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives (SEBI 008) - Assessment published May 2010
Biodiversity (Primary topic)
- SEBI 008
Key policy question: Have countries proposed sufficient sites under the Habitats and Birds Directives?
By mid-2008, most EU Member States were close to reaching the target levels for designation of Natura 2000 sites thought necessary to protect habitats and species targeted by the Habitats Directive. Twentyone countries had a sufficiency of above 80 % and the new Member States (EU-10+2) were doing well given their recent accession. This is measured against a threshold that is considered adequate to achieve a favourable conservation status for the species and habitats of concern.
State of progress by biogeographical region in reaching sufficiency as stipulated by the Habitats Directive (Annex I – Habitats and Annex II – Species)
Note: Marine areas are excluded
DG ENV, 2008.
State of progress by Member States in designating sufficient protected areas to provide for Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) Annex I habitats and Annex II species
Note: The figure shows the state of progress by Member States in designating sufficient protected areas to provide for Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) Annex I habitats and Annex II species Marine areas are excluded
- Natura 2000 data provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV)
- Nationally designated areas (CDDA) provided by European Environment Agency (EEA)
Under the Habitats Directive, each Member State shall contribute to the creation of Natura 2000 by designating sites in proportion to the representation within its territory of the natural habitat types and the habitats of species of European interest.
At EU level, around 10 % of the terrestrial territory is designated under the Birds Directive and around 13 % under the Habitats Directive. Many sites are designated under both directives.
The evaluation of sufficiency is based on the range of each species and habitat in the full territory of each Member State and within the sites proposed by the Member States. The representativeness is assessed by experts during scientific seminars led by the European Commission. Only terrestrial habitats and species are evaluated because marine areas are still under consideration. If the assessment concludes that designations are insufficient, proposed sites must be enlarged or new sites must be proposed that include a larger proportion of species population or habitat area.
At a biogeographical level, proposals for the Macaronesian and Black Sea regions are complete but additional proposals are needed for other regions.
In recent years there has been a steady increase in the cumulative area of the Natura 2000 network. Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) increased in coverage from 45 to more than 65 million hectares and Special Protected Areas (SPAs) increased from approximately 29 to 50 million hectares. These increases occurred mainly due to the fact that 10 new countries joined the EU in 2004, followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007. Another factor was new designations of protected areas made by the Member States, particularly under the Birds
As of June 2008, eight Member States had designated more than 15 % of their territory as
SCIs: Slovenia (31.4 %); Bulgaria (26.5 %); Spain (23.6 %); Portugal (17.4 %); Estonia (16.8 %); Greece (16.4 %); Luxembourg (15.4 %) and Hungary (15.0 %). As concerns SPAs, only four Member States had designated more than 15 % of their territory: Slovakia (25.1 %); Slovenia (23 %), Bulgaria (20.4 %) and Spain (19.1 %). there are no quantitative targets on the area to be designated and cover generally also depends on the ecological and other characteristics of a specific Member State.
The process of designating marine areas is still under way.
- About Sites of Community Importance and Special Protected Areas: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/sites_hab/index_en.htm.
- About biogeographical regions: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/sites_hab/biogeog_regions/index_en.htm.
provided by European Environment Agency (EEA)
Natura 2000 barometer
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 1.2.2 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
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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