What is Natura 2000?
Natura 2000 is the key instrument to protect biodiversity in the European Union. It is an ecological network of protected areas, set up to ensure the survival of Europe’s most valuable species and habitats. Natura 2000 is based on the 1979 Birds Directive and the 1992 Habitats Directive. The Natura 2000 network currently encompasses over 27,300 individual sites, altogether covering an area of more than 1.1 million square kilometres (EEA, 2022). This corresponds to 18% of the European land area of the EU Member states, and 4% of their European marine area (EEA, 2022). See the most recent EU wide Natura 2000 dataset in the Natura 2000 Network Viewer here.
The Sardinian Natura 2000 Network
Sardinia, one of the two insular regions of Italy, is in the southwest of the Italian Peninsula. Sardinia hosts 186 endemic plant species and represents an important centre for Mediterranean biodiversity (Fois et al., 2017). The Natura 2000 network in Sardinia consists of 92 Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) and 37 Special Protection Areas (SPAs), accounting for nearly a 19% of the total land area of the island (Lai & Zoppi, 2017).
Between August 2020 and March 2021, SETIN Srl on behalf of Regione Autonoma della Sardegna – Servizio Tutela della natura e politiche forestali was responsible for the preparation of the “Prioritized Action Framework for Sardinia Region for Natura 2000 Network”, including:
- Analysis and statistics on Nature 2000 protected areas (132 sites; 864.000 ha);
- Analysis of the financial sources for the period 2013-2020 (European agricultural fund for rural development, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, European Regional Development Fund, LIFE Programme, MED Programme, Interreg Programme and others);
- Synthesis of conservation status for habitats and species;
- Fundraising framework analysis;
- Fundraising action plan and financial plan for the EU financial period 2021-2027 (about 112M Euro);
- Identification of priority conservation measure at regional and sites scales, under biodiversity conservation, protected areas management, rural development, maritime and fishery development and other);
- Financial need assessment for priority conservation measures for EU financial period (2021-2027) (more than 100M euro).
Mauro Fois, Gianluigi Bacchetta, Donatella Cogoni & Giuseppe Fenu (2017): Current and future effectiveness of the Natura 2000 network for protecting plant species in Sardinia: a nice and complex strategy in its raw state?, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2017.1306496
Lai, S.; Zoppi, C. The Influence of Natura 2000 Sites on Land-Taking Processes at the Regional Level: An Empirical Analysis Concerning Sardinia (Italy). Sustainability 2017, 9, 259. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020259
EEA (2022). Natura 2000 Network Viewer, https://natura2000.eea.europa.eu/).