LIFE NATURA 2000 + BEAR - Living in Natura 2000 and living with bears in two small and endangered subpopulations

LIFE16 GIE/ES/000621

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Contact details:

Contact person: Guillermo Palomero
Tel: 34942234900
Fax: 34942235048
Email: fop@fundacionosopardo.org

Project description:


The environmental problem addressed in the present proposal is the lack of awareness of the Natura 2000 Network among the general public as well as among the inhabitants of the network sites. This lack of knowledge is a constraint for nature conservation, especially in territories where human activities coexist with species of large carnivores such as the brown bear. Indeed, nature conservation requires awareness and participation of a large number of stakeholders. Lack of awareness also hinders the enforcement of Article VI of the Habitats Directive, which foresees actions preventing the deterioration of natural habitats and habitats of species, as well as any alteration that could affect the conservation status of species.

This is especially relevant in the distribution of brown bears in the Eastern Cantabrian and Western Pyrenees region, the two smallest and most threatened subpopulations in Spain in order to guarantee the favourable conservation status of the these populations as there has been less investment in conservation efforts to date. This problem is directly related to the 7th General Union Environment Action Programme, specifically in terms of better integrating environmental concerns into other policy areas. This last objective is of special relevance to the Natura 2000 network in areas in an unfavourable conservation status, since integration with rural or social policies is fundamental to guaranteeing the conservation of a species such as the brown bear.

The lack of awareness of the Natura 2000 network has been identified through different opinion studies, among them the 2015 Eurobarometer on the attitude of the European public to biodiversity.


The overall objective of the LIFE NATURA 2000 + BEAR project is to improve information and awareness of the Natura 2000 network and of the brown bear population among the inhabitants of areas that are home to the two smallest and most endangered subpopulations of bears in Spain. The aim is to encourage behavioural changes and promote governance structures for better conservation of Natura 2000 sites and endangered bear subpopulations. The project focuses on both Natura 2000 in general and the brown bear specifically as it considers that information and governance are part of the same process of avoiding the deterioration of natural habitats of species in Natura 2000 sites and improving the conservation status of the brown bear, which is currently unfavourable.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Engage different population groups, promote knowledge and awareness of the Natura 2000 network and the brown bear, their values and opportunities for sustainable development, disseminate information at different levels and involve stakeholders and leaders so they can act as multipliers;
  • Develop impact indicators to measure the result of the project and the involvement of the local population;
  • Avoid deterioration of the natural habitats incorporated in the Natura 2000 network and improve the conservation status of the brown bear by raising awareness among the public and private sector local actors, particularly including potential promoters of plans and projects under Article VI of the Habitats Directive;
  • Offer the local population in general, specific population groups and NGO opportunities to actively participate in relevant aspects of the Natura 2000 network in bear population areas, facilitating the sharing of solutions and best practices, creating governance structures and generating ongoing supportive public opinion; and
  • Generate media interest and involve local and regional media and social networks in the dissemination of information.
  • Expected results:

  • Raised awareness of inhabitants of target areas (51 municipalities and 29 Natura 2000 sites) to twice the current level of Natura 2000 awareness (which stands at 14.5% according to a SEO/BirdLife study of 2010, but reference data will be evaluated at the beginning of the project);
  • 150 local multipliers participating in 15 meetings throughout the bear areas and dissemination of the relevance and opportunities of living in Natura 2000 and in the range area of the bear subpopulations in Spain;
  • Solutions and best practices for cohabitation disseminated to some 400 stakeholders (local actors, professionals and project promotors) through 40 thematic workshops; 280 awareness activities held across the project municipalities targeting around 12 000 participants (school children, sectorial groups and the general public), under the framework of an itinerant exhibition on bears and Natura 2000;
  • 100 local and regional media (press, radio and television) and digital media involved in the information campaign (180 news and press releases distributed, 10 audio-visual pieces, one documentary, 15 ads and 450 entries in social networks) on Natura 2000 and bear conservation needs;
  • Governance structures configured as five working groups (one in each autonomous community) established to encourage debate among representatives of the local and regional administration, NGOs, stakeholders and other involved sectors;
  • An online consultation and a best practice document along with a presence in fairs and events, the distribution of promotional materials networking with other projects and monitoring and dissemination activities.



Environmental issues addressed:


Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information
Information - Governance - Public and Stakeholders participation
Species - Mammals


animal damage‚  biodiversity‚  social participation‚  conflicting use

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The Fundación Oso Pardo (FOP) – Brown Bear Foundation – is an NGO that was set up in 1992 to contribute to the conservation of the Cantabrian brown bear (Ursus arctos) by improving knowledge of the species, its habitat and cultural context, and implementing practical actions to enhance its populations. The FOP focuses its activities in the Cantabrian Range, in Northern Spain, and the Pyrenees. It also focuses increasingly on land stewardship as a form of land management, and on the need to ensure continuous environmental education among the general public.


Project reference LIFE16 GIE/ES/000621
Duration 01-JUL-2017 to 30-JUN -2020
Total budget 783,250.00 €
EU contribution 464,400.00 €
Project location Asturias(España) Cantabria(España) Navarra(España) Aragón(España) Castilla-León(España)


Read more:

Leaflet "Natura 2000 OSO: Retos y oportunidades de vivir e ...
Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version