This indicator shows the progress of the implementation of the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) and the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) by EU Member States. The indicator shows the evolution in time of the total area protected either by SPAs (designated under the Birds Directive) and of the SCIs/SACs (designated under the Habitats Directive), as well as the total area of the Natura 2000 network.
Methodology for indicator calculation
The area (km2) of each site is registered in the annual versions of the geographic information system (GIS) Natura 2000 database and grouped per year of proposal/designation.
The figures relating to the total area of Natura 2000 sites have been obtained through GIS analysis. This avoids any risk of double counting sites that have been designated under both directives. Data on the total Natura 2000 area, accounting for overlapping sites, have been available since only 2011. Since 2005, the calculation of the area of SPAs and SCIs has also been based on GIS data, but before this tabular data were used.
Information is collected from national authorities by the Directorate-General for Environment and processed by the European Environment Agency.
For more information see:
Natura 2000 data: https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/natura-13
Natura 2000 Barometer: https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/dashboards/natura-2000-barometer;
Natura 2000 Newsletter: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/info/pubs/natura2000nl_en.htm
Methodology for gap filling
No gap filling is used in this indicator.
The Habitats and Birds Directives aim to conserve natural habitats and wild fauna and flora within the EU. Member States are required to propose sites for protecting the habitats and species listed in the directives’ annexes.
Under the Birds Directive, Member States designate SPAs. The sites designated under the Habitats Directive include SCIs and SACs. Once lists of SCIs proposed by Member States have been adopted by the European Commission, Member States must designate them as SACs as soon as possible and within 6 years at most. The Natura 2000 network is composed of SPAs, SCIs and SACs.
The establishment of designated sites under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives is a direct response to concerns over biodiversity loss. An indicator of a change in the coverage of these sites is a valuable indication of EU and national-level commitment to conserving biodiversity and reducing its loss.
Main advantages of the indicator
- Policy relevance: the indicator provides direct evidence in relation to the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives, making it relevant for Member States’ and the EU’s nature conservation policies.
No methodology uncertainty has been specified.
No rationale uncertainty has been specified.