Though these publications mainly feature examples of LIFE-Nature projects, they sometimes also contain relevant LIFE-Environment and LIFE-Third Countries projects.
January 2013 - 80 pages
The conservation of Europe's birdlife has been an EU policy priority since the 1970s (the Birds Directive was first enacted in 1979, in fact). Since the establishment of the LIFE programme in 1992, which replaced the earlier ACNAT funding mechanism, EU-level support for endangered bird species and their habitats has focused on targeted practical conservation, restoration and management actions in Natura 2000 network sites throughout the Union.
The objective of this publication is to highlight some specific examples of habitat management for birds funded by LIFE. Examples cover a range of different habitats (principally wetlands, grasslands and forests), species and bio-geographical regions across the EU. Given the importance of sites all along the routes of migratory birds, there are also examples of how LIFE co-funding has been used for transnational cooperation projects managing habitats in multiple locations, as well as to track species to wintering spots in Africa and elsewhere in the EU. This will allow the development of a more integrated approach to conservation in future.
Download: LIFE managing habitats for birds
(~ 5 MB)
May 2012 - 56 pages
Invertebrates are a very diverse group of species that extend over all environments, ranging from mountains to seas. They provide valuable ecosystems services, from pollination to the control of agricultural pests and also act as important environmental indicators (for instance of water quality in rivers, a function of freshwater pearl mussels). Yet, despite their importance and prevalence, there is a lack of knowledge about many invertebrates, resulting in a lack of care and conservation. Furthermore, the sheer number of threatened invertebrate species in Europe alone makes it difficult to target them through direct conservation action. As a result, the LIFE programme has tended to focus its funding on strengthening habitat security and conservation in order to support biodiversity richness and ecosystems health. This new LIFE Focus publication offers key practical examples of this approach – ranging from projects that manage agricultural land in a way that is favourable for rare butterfly species; to projects ensuring that ancient forests contain appropriate quantities of decaying wood and associated debris for saproxylic beetles. The publication also features examples from across the EU of how LIFE restoration actions have benefitted other groups of invertebrates, such as bees, dragonflies, snails and various freshwater and marine species.
Download: LIFE and invertebrate conservation
(~ 7 MB)
June 2011 - 60 pages
Most LIFE Nature projects focus on conservation action 'in-situ', i.e. within the natural habitat of a particular threatened species. This may not be enough to help the most vulnerable species, however, in which case 'ex-situ' conservation measures are required to address the threat of extinction. The LIFE programme has a distinguished track record of funding crucial ex-situ interventions targeting a wide range of vulnerable species, ranging from flagship species such as the brown bear and golden eagle, to lesser-known but equally important fish, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and plants. LIFE-funded actions to support habitats ex-situ have contributed to enhancing biodiversity, supporting the EU's policy goals. The Commission is at present evaluating the contribution that ex-situ conservation has to make to the conservation of European species. This LIFE Focus publication highlights more than 80 LIFE Nature projects that feature ex-situ conservation actions, with the goal not only of highlighting innovative ideas and good practice, but also of pointing out some of the problems that previous LIFE projects have faced so that they might be avoided by current and future projects working in the challenging field of ex-situ conservation.
March 2011 - 60 pages
Europe is home to a wide range of mammals from the smallest shrew to the massive European bison, which can weigh up to 920 kg and is the largest land-based mammal native to this continent. Maintaining stable and healthy populations of mammals is an essential part of conservation. Many mammals are 'umbrella' species and actions targeted at these species can have a positive impact on the populations of a whole series of other species and a range of habitat types. These include emblematic species such as the Iberian lynx, the Abruzzo chamois and the monk seal, which also catch the imagination of the public, and thus help to raise awareness of biodiversity and nature conservation.
Though strategically important for Europe's rich biodiversity, many mammals have suffered as a result of habitat degradation and loss, in addition to other direct threats such as excessive hunting and human disturbance. While many species remain endangered, EU conservation policy has addressed threats to mammals, and some positive results have been achieved.
This brochure highlights many of the actions that the EU has supported and offers a valuable overview of what has been achieved and how we, together with a wide range of stakeholders, can succeed in securing the future of Europe's diverse range of mammals, both great and small.
Download: LIFE and European Mammals: Improving their conservation status
(~ 7 MB)
April 2010 - 60 pages
Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation have been by far the biggest drivers of terrestrial biodiversity loss at EU level over the past 50 years. This is a result of the massive expansion of urban zones and transport infrastructures, which have been cutting up Europe’s landscape. In addition, traditional land-use practices have been replaced by more intensive, mechanised and industrial-scale activities, especially in the agricultural and forestry sectors. This has weakened ecosystems, their functions and the biodiversity they support.
LIFE Nature and, to a certain extent, LIFE Environment, have already made a contribution to developing Europe’s green infrastructure, mainly on a local or regional level. The challenge now is to assess the substantial knowledge acquired through LIFE-funded projects and to finalise the concept of the green infrastructure strategy. This strategy will aim to find ways to reduce landscape fragmentation, improve ecosystem resilience, including the protection of its biodiversity, adapt to climate change and integrate spatial planning.
The good practices and innovative solutions introduced by LIFE projects – as highlighted in this brochure – are demonstrating how such a green infrastructure can be best supported and built up in the future.
Download: LIFE building up Europe’s green infrastructure
March 2010 - 84 pages
EU Member States have recently completed the most comprehensive survey of EU biodiversity to date, reporting on the conservation status of more than 1 182 species and 216 habitat types, as required under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive. This LIFE Focus publication shows how LIFE Nature is helping improve the conservation status of a range of species and habitats covered by the directive. The first half of the publication looks at a range of projects that have targeted mammals, birds, fish and lesser-known animal species, as well as plants. The second-half of the publication looks at the impact of the LIFE programme on a range of habitat types: forests, dunes, heathlands, wetlands, wet forests and grasslands.
Download: LIFE improving the conservation status of species and habitats
June 2009 - 60 pages
Reptiles and amphibians (collectively known as herpetofauna) are among the most diverse and colourful vertebrates in Europe. Sadly, they are often amongst the most threatened species too. This brochure highlights a selection of the many projects targeting reptiles and amphibians that LIFE has co-funded since its inception in 1992. These projects have variously focused on habitat restoration actions, captive breeding and reintroduction programmes and measures to safeguard the species in the wild (including awareness-raising).
Download: Reptiles and amphibians
This 66-page publication is based on the proceedings of the LIFE Nature thematic conference, “Protecting Europe’s Nature: Learning from LIFE”, which took place in November 2008, in Brussels.
Download: Learning from LIFE
2008 - 56 pages
Grassland ecosystems hold an important part of Europe’s biodiversity. They offer ideal conditions for a vast diversity of habitats and species, are the source of a wide range of public goods and services, and also act as carbon ‘sinks’. Changes in agricultural practices and land use pressures mean that grasslands are disappearing at an alarming rate. This brochure highlights a selection of LIFE co-funded projects targeting grassland ecosystems within the Natura 2000 network.
Download: LIFE and Europe’s grasslands: Restoring a forgotten habitat
2008 - 52 pages
Europe is blessed with a high rate of plant diversity, but despite their undeniable importance and aesthetic value, plants everywhere are under threat. This brochure explores the challenges for conservation of Europe’s endangered plants and highlights the role of the LIFE programme in helping to halt biodiversity loss, and to restore threatened habitats and natural systems. From Romania to northern Finland, France’s Seine Valley to Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains, the Mediterranean to Macaronesia, LIFE has supported a range of successful projects, helping to restore habitats and to protect endangered plants.
Download: LIFE and endangered plants
2007 - 68 pages
Wetland ecosystems hold an important part of Europe’s biodiversity. They provide ideal conditions for a vast diversity of habitats and species, and are especially important for birds providing vital nesting and migratory flyway areas. Despite their importance, however, wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate and are among Europe’s most threatened ecosystems. This brochure presents a selection of wetland projects that have received LIFE co-funding since 1992. The majority of case studies focus on the restoration and management of wetlands, while a number also target key wetland species.
Download: LIFE and Europe's wetlands
2007 - 52 pages
The examples featured in this brochure form an overview of how LIFE co-funded projects have helped Member States meet the requirements of the EU’s Water Framework Directive. Projects have helped to implement it by testing, validating and demonstrating procedures and approaches that aid the management and sharing of information and the development of guidance on technical issues.
Download: LIFE and Europe's rivers
2006 - 64 pages
This beautifully-illustrated publication explores the contribution the LIFE programme has made to the conservation of Europe’s highly endangered marine species and habitats.
Download: LIFE and the marine environment
2006 - 68 pages (2011 for the PL Version)
This publication provides background details on the EU forest sector, and gives details of how LIFE has contributed in terms of: forest restoration, forest biodiversity, forest management and building partnerships to protect and improve forests.
Download: LIFE and European Forests
The "Good practices in managing Natura 2000 sites" website presents twenty-five practical examples of successful management practices and solutions covering five different sectors: farming, forests, rivers, marine, wetlands. These have been taken from projects funded under LIFE-Nature. The website can be accessed via the European Commission DG Environment Nature page. An explanatory leaflet is also available.
2005 - 48 pages
This publication examines the contribution that the LIFE-Nature programme has made to the integrated management of Natura 2000 sites. It contains examples of management plans that were produced during LIFE-Nature projects.
2005 - 86 pages
This brochure looks at LIFE-Nature projects that have a military dimension and also examines the context within which these projects took place.
Download: LIFE, Natura and the military
2004 - 48 pages
This brochure examines the contribution of LIFE-Nature projects from 1992-2003, to the European Union ’s Birds Directive. Up to 2003, LIFE-Nature has invested some €367 million in projects targeting threatened birds species.
Download: LIFE for Birds
2004 - 72 pages
This brochure examines LIFE-Natures’ wealth of experience of communicating with different stakeholder groups and the general public in order to gain acceptance and support for the Natura 2000 network.
Download: LIFE-Nature: Communicating with stakeholders and the general public
2004 - 56 pages
This publication describes the role of LIFE to support innovative projects for the management of exotic or alien species, and highlights successful strategies, which are being implemented throughout the European Union.
Download: Alien species and nature conservation in the EU
2003 - 72 pages
This book presents a series of practical examples of LIFE projects, according to agri-environmental themes. For each theme conclusions are drawn and - where appropriate - practical suggestions made as to the future application of relevant agri-environmental measures.
Download: LIFE and agri-environment supporting Natura 2000
2003 - 108 pages
After 10 years of project implementation (1992-2001), this publication draws up a review of the general impact of LIFE-Nature on the establishment of Natura 2000, and assesses its utility for the application of Community directives concerning nature.
Download: LIFE for Natura 2000 - 10 years implementing the regulation
European Commission, DG ENV (LIFE Unit), 1999, 68 p
Only E-version available, the print version has run out of stock.
1999 - 96 pages
From Stockholm’s elegant waterfront to Rome’s bustling streets, Berlin’s modern museums to Lisbon’s famous streetcars - one of the most striking features of Europe today is its cultural diversity. The second may be its weather! driving rain in Dublin, scorching hot evenings in Athens…. This combination of different climates and human activities is also responsible for another of Europe’s more obscure jewels: its mire habitats. These are particularly well represented considering the size of the continent, but their decline is now a matter of grave concern – 70% of their former mire range has already been lost.
Download: Conserving Mires in the European Union
European Commission, DG ENV (LIFE Unit), 1997, 44 p
Download:La conservation de l'ours brun