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The LIFE-Nature Fund

Adopted at the same time as the Habitats Directive in 1992, the LIFE-Nature component of the LIFE programme is designed to help fund the conservation of habitat types and species listed in the Habitats and Birds Directives, particularly in Natura 2000 areas.

Around €600 million has been spent so far on co-financing over 900 practical conservation projects in 26 countries across Europe (25 Member States and Romania). Collectively they have targeted around 10% of the Natura 2000 Network so far.

The intention is not to pay for the implementation of the Natura 2000 Network wholesale (this would require much more money) but to help establish the network and demonstrate how it can function in practice. Typical activities of LIFE-Nature projects include preparatory negotiations, inventories and management planning, purchase of land or land use-rights, technical planning and implementation of one-off habitat/species restoration actions, awareness-raising amongst stakeholders, education, information, etc.

Working in partnership

LIFE-Nature is open to everyone – from national, regional and local authorities, NGOs, stakeholders and interest groups, to other public bodies and even private enterprises.

This diversity has enabled projects to develop different approaches both in terms of the scale of the projects and of the type of activities undertaken. Several have, for instance, adopted a strategic approach by working on a whole suite of sites (sometimes across an entire country).

The majority of LIFE-Nature projects, however, still operate on one or two sites. This bottom up approach is a key factor in determining the success of many LIFE-Nature projects since it ensures that sustainable solutions are found at the level of the individual sites and in close agreement with the local actors.

Good practices

Over the last 12 years LIFE-Nature has acted as a useful test bed to gauge people’s reactions to Natura 2000 and to develop best practice management techniques for different habitats and species. This provides a wealth of experiences and examples of ‘Natura 2000 in action’, some of which are presented as case studies in this website.

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  • Full details of the LIFE-Nature projects funded and other good practice examples can be found on the LIFE website:
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