Preparation of Natura 2000 management plans

Preparation of Natura 2000 management plans
Natura 2000 is an EU-wide network of protected areas intended to preserve the endangered habitats and species in the EU. © Dieter Schütz/

Involved sectors

Agriculture, Forestry, Water management, Hunting, Tourism and leisure, Nature protection

Affected habitats

Forest, Shrubs and wooded areas, Bogs and fens, wetlands, Alpine habitats, Grassland, Arable land, Areas for settlements and transport, Waterbodies


Natura 2000 is an EU-wide network of protected areas intended to preserve the endangered habitats and species in the EU. It comprises the protected areas defined in Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds (Birds Directive) and in Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive), and aims to build a coherent ecological network. Binding provisions apply to the implementation of Natura 2000, including a requirement to produce management plans defining mandatory conservation measures for the area in question. The plans consist of a basic part and a section containing relevant measures, which describes which species and habitat types contribute to the specific ecological value of the area and the conservation objectives that this creates for the area concerned. This gives rise to an obligation to maintain and where appropriate develop connecting features of the landscape with a view to improving the ecological coherence of the Natura 2000 network (Articles 3 and 10). Member states are also required to take measures to improve the connectivity of the Natura 2000 areas outside these areas themselves (Article 10).


Impact in particular on Small mammals, Big mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Insects, Fish
Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats The measures laid down in the management plan must impact positively on the areas' environmental status with all its species and habitats (favourable conservation status, requirement for improvement).
Element of ecological network The coherence of the Natura 2000 network must be safeguarded. Measures should be promoted that protect both the specific network of habitats inside and outside an area and the overall site which has other valuable biotopes (national biotope network).
Time of realisation for measure Years: The production of management plans usually takes a period of 1-3 years, and the measures to be implemented are only carried out after the planning process has been completed.
Impact scope Regional: The measures contained in the management plan must take account of the specific connectivity in the area; individual management measures can be of transregional importance.


Implementation period Long term: The measures contained in the management plan are planned for a long period of time (approx. 10 years). The implementation periods of the individual measures can differ greatly.
Frequency Recurring: Implementation of management plans is a long-term activity.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs High (100'000-1 Mio EUR): Depending on the species and habitats in the area concerned, about €150-190 per km2.
Socio-economic impacts No direct impact: In the case of Natura 2000, account must be taken of socio-economic interactions with other sectors as well as of the environmental structure and nature conservation concerns.
Sources of financing Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national, Public: European
Legal situation The management plans are based on the Habitats Directive, the Birds Directive and No. 6.1 of the Joint Declaration of 4 August 2000 concerning the protection of the European Natura 2000 network. The implementation of the measures is to be supported by state programmes (e.g. contract-based nature conservation programmes).

Further information

Evaluation The management plans for most Natura 2000 areas are currently being produced. Few experiences have therefore been made as to how connectivity measures are actually being included in the management plans and what the long-term impacts of these will be. In principle, the demarcation of Natura 2000 areas alone will not be enough to achieve the goal of a coherent ecological network.
Information Other: EU information:
Contact Other: Further information may be obtained from the national authorities concerned.

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