Natura 2000 Network
Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature & biodiversity policy. It is an EUwide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) designated by Member States under the Habitats Directive, and also incorporates Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which they designate under the 1979 Birds Directive. Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves where all human activities are excluded. Whereas the network will certainly include nature reserves most of the land is likely to continue to be privately owned and the emphasis will be on ensuring that future management is sustainable, both ecologically and economically.The establishment of theis network of protected areas also fulfils a Community obligation under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
Natura 2000 applies to Birds Sites and to Habitats Sites, which are divided into biogeographical regions. It also applies to the marine environment.
The Natura 2000 Barometer gives updated statistical information on the progress in establishing the Natura 2000 network, both under the Birds and the Habitats Directives.
On these pages, you can find out more about the management of Natura 2000 sites, how Natura 2000 is financed and about the Geographic Information System for Natura 2000.
Taken from : http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/index_en.htm