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As the selection of sites for the Natura 2000 Network nears completion, attention is increasingly focused on the issue of management in accordance with the provisions of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive. With over 20,000 sites in the Natura 2000 Network, covering almost a fifth of the EU territory, the prospect may seem rather daunting at first. Not only do the ecological requirements of the species and habitats vary significantly from one to another, but the proposed management options must also take account of economic, social and cultural requirements of the area concerned as well as their regional and local characteristics.
Considering that the majority of Natura 2000 sites are likely to be in private ownership and used for purposes other than nature conservation, it is also essential that the stakeholder groups concerned are actively involved in finding practical solutions for the long term management of their sites.
The aim is not to stop economic activities altogether, but rather to set the parameters by which these can take place whilst maintaining (or restoring) the rare species and habitats present at a favourable conservation status. Indeed, many sites in Natura 2000 are valuable precisely because of the way they have been managed up to now and it will be important to ensure that these sorts of activities (eg extensive farming) can continue into the future.
Thus, defining the ecological requirements of a species or habitat is only part of the equation - equally important is the process of working with stakeholders to find ways of implementing these provisions in order to achieve sustainable long term results.
Good practice examples
There is an increasing body of examples of how this has been achieved successfully across different parts of the EU. In this website, we have selected a handful of examples within in five different themes " farming, forestry, river management, marine, and wetlands" to illustrate type of different management processes and solutions that have been used successfully under a wide range of different ecological, social and economic conditions across Europe.
These are meant to give a flavour of what managing a Natura 2000 site can mean in practice. For those interested in finding out more about the projects or the themes a "read more" link is provided at the end of each section.
Themes:> Wetland management
> River management
> The marine environment
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