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Towards better implementation of the Nature Directives: a handbook


The EU Nature Directives (the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive) are the backbone of the European biodiversity policy, but their implementation needs improvement. The Commission Fitness Check of these Directives pointed – among other things – to problems regarding knowledge gaps and access to data and information. The disconnection between environmental scientists, decision makers and practitioners on relevant issues linked to nature conservation policy has also an impact on the proper implementation of the Directives.

The service contract on Evidence Based Improvements of the Nature Directives (E-BIND project) aimed at ensuring the support of scientific bodies and networks in providing knowledge, information and data to ensure a better and more effective implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives. The E-BIND project was carried out by Wageningen Environmental Research (WEnR) part of Wageningen University and Research (WUR), Milieu and Ecologic (consortium partners), Eurosite – the European Land Conservation Network, Society for Ecological Restoration and the Dutch Butterfly Foundation (subcontractors).

An online handbook, published in June 2021, has been developed synthesising the evidence gathered to facilitate public access to the data and information and to support policy makers and practitioners in charge of implementing the Nature Directives in order to improve their performance on the ground. The handbook contributes to the goal of the E-BIND project to bridge the gap between scientists, policy makers and practitioners.

The E-BIND project was focussed on 2 main themes, with 3 sub-themes each:

Handbook A: Improving the availability of data and information on species, habitats and sites:

I.                 Monitoring of species and habitats
II.                Contribution of remote sensing techniques for monitoring Natura 2000 sites
III.              Access to data and information

Handbook B: Scientific support for successful implementation of the Natura 2000 network:

I.                 Approaches and tools for effective restoration measures for species and habitats
II.                Green infrastructure and network coherence
III.              Co-benefits (ecosystem services) of measures to consolidate the Natura 2000 network