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The “Umbrella Effect” of the Natura 2000 network

Photo credit: Lawrence Jones-Walters

A research consortium consisting of 6 organisations recently published an assessment of species inside and outside the European Natura 2000 protected area network. In May 2015 the Commission published the report ‘The State of Nature in the European Union’, an evidence base which sets out the status of and trends for habitat types and species covered by the Birds and Habitats Directives for the period 2007-2012.

The State of Nature report does not show the wider contribution of Natura 2000 to the conservation of species that are not listed in the annexes to the Directives. The need to understand this contribution is driven by a general inquiry into the effectiveness of the Nature Directives and the EU strategic target, expressed within the Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, to “halt the deterioration of all species and habitats and achieve a significant and measurable improvement in their status….” It focusses in particular on the functionality of the Natura 2000 network in Europe as a key prerequisite for conserving biodiversity.

In 2013 the European Commission therefore initiated a research project to assess the significance of the presumed “umbrella effect” of Natura 2000, related to its potential contribution in terms of halting and reversing the loss of species other than those for which the Natura 2000 sites have been set-up.

This executive summary presents the main findings of the assessment: http://edepot.wur.nl/385796

The full detail of the study is found in the background report: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/knowledge/pdf/alterra-report-2730b.pdf