The specific objective of LIFE-Nature was to contribute to the implementation of Community nature protection policy: the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) and the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) . In particular, LIFE-Nature supported the establishment of the Natura 2000 network for the in situ management and conservation of Europe's most remarkable fauna and flora species and habitats.
Nature conservation projects that contribute to maintaining or restoring natural habitats or species populations to a favourable conservation status within the meaning of the Habitats Directive were eligible for LIFE-Nature. Projects had to cover Special Protection Areas or Sites of Community Importance and the species listed in these Directives.
The European Union allocated approximately €840 million for some 970 LIFE-Nature projects, with a total budget of €1.5 billion for the period 1992-2006. Community co-financing covered up to 50% of the costs, with the exception of projects concerning priority natural habitats or priority species defined in the Habitats Directive the Commission, which were received financing of up to 75% of the eligible costs.
61 LIFE-Nature projects were selected for funding following the last call for proposals under LIFE III. For more information please read the latest press release on LIFE-Nature.
LIFE-Nature financed nature conservation projects; these were wide-ranging, reflecting the diversity of natural environments in Europe. Examples included the restoration of riverbanks and wetland habitats in Denmark, the protection of almost-extinct species such as the Mediterranean monk seal in Greece and the preservation of Baltic boreal coastal meadows in Estonia.
For an example of the sort of work LIFE-Nature supported, please visit the Ingleborough NNR Limestone Country project, which won first prize as “the best example of good practices in the management of Natura 2000 sites” at the 2005 Eurosite Awards.
LIFE Regulation (EC) No 1655/2000 financed special types of measures called ‘Starter’ and ‘Co-op’.
‘Starter’ measures were intended to help with the preparation of LIFE-Nature projects involving partners in more than one Member State or accession country associated with LIFE.
‘Co-op’ measures were aimed exclusively at supporting the exchange of experience among LIFE-Nature projects. They involved at least three ongoing or past LIFE-Nature projects targeting similar nature conservation subjects (e.g. the same species or habitat type or groups thereof) or similar nature conservation themes and problems (communication questions, management planning, specific solutions with others who share nature areas, such as farmers, foresters, fishers etc.).
These measures were implemented by way of calls for proposals which were published in the Official Journal. Two calls were published:
For further information on the projects selected for funding, consult the LIFE projects database.
Project examples include an exchange of experience on habitat management among Baltic LIFE-Nature projects, evaluation of bustard conservation best practice in Western Europe, and the sharing of best practices about Finnish Wetlands.
For an example of a Co-op project which LIFE supported, please see the Bittern in Europe project: “The bittern in Europe: a guide to species and habitat management”
Edited by Graham White, Jochen Purps and Sarah Alsbury. Published by The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 2006. 194 p
Download the guide (~15 MB)
Project examples include the conservation of Anser erythropus on the European migration route, reduction of the impact of EU fisheries policy on Mediterranean sea turtles, and an action plan for the conservation of Bonelli's eagle.