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Wilderness in Europe

Mention wilderness and people usually conjure up images of the vast expanses of Arctic tundra in Russia or steamy jungles in the Amazon. Few would think of Europe as a place where nature is still pristine and relatively untouched by humans. But one need only cite the Danube Delta or the Białowieża Forest to recognise that Europe can be pretty wild in places too. It is estimated that around 13% of the Natura 2000 Network contains wilderness qualities.

Recognising the value of wilderness areas in achieving the objectives of the Habitats and Birds Directives, and of the wider EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, the Commission has prepared a guidance document on how best to ensure the conservation of these valuable areas within the context of the Natura 2000 Network. This comes in response to a Resolution adopted by the European Parliament in 2009 which drew attention to the vital role that wilderness areas can play in halting the loss of biodiversity.

Guidelines for the management of wilderness and wild areas in Natura 2000 PDF en fr de

Invasive Alien

In order to increase data availability on wilderness in Europe a wilderness register and an indicator of wilderness qualities have been prepared.

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