The establishment of the Natura 2000 network is a major achievement. As the designation process nears its conclusion, attention now turns towards the management of the sites. Within six years after their designation as sites of Community importance, Member States will designate these sites as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and adopt conservation measures involving, if need be, appropriate management plans and other measures which correspond to the ecological requirements of the natural habitat types and the species of Community interest. Special Protection Areas designated under the Birds Directive need to be managed in accordance with the ecological needs of habitats of birds. According to the EU nature directives the conservation objectives should be met while taking account of economic, social, cultural, regional and recreational requirements. It is for the Member States to establish the most appropriate methods and instruments for implementing the directives and for achieving the conservation objectives of Natura 2000 sites.
The European Commission, in close cooperation with Member States and stakeholders, has elaborated guidance documents with regard to the management of Natura 2000 sites. A large variety of approaches and a considerable amount of experience and best practice has become and still will become available. This webpage should contribute to enhancing the exchange of information, experience and good practice on Natura 2000 management.