In a nutshell
Natura 2000 is a positive contribution to the community, because it benefits people, nature and local economy. It is a network of nature areas in Europe, covering 18% of the land area and 6% of its waters. It is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world, offering a safe space to Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats.
More than thirty years ago, the European Union developed two important policies to protect nature: the Birds (1979) and Habitats (1992) Directives. These Directives contain lists of animal and plant species and specific nature areas that require protection, to preserve them for future generations. Together these policies form the Natura 2000 network. It stretches across 28 European countries.
Nature 2000: for nature and people
Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves from which all human activities are excluded. While it includes strictly protected nature reserves, most of the land remains privately owned. The approach to conservation and sustainable use of the Natura 2000 areas largely centers on people working with nature rather than against it. All areas should be managed in a sustainable manner, both ecologically and economically. The Natura 2000 Award, a yearly competition, awards excellence in the management of Natura 2000 sites and conservation achievements, showcasing the added value of the network for local economies.
Reference: this text is based on information provided by the European Commission.