Natura 2000 is the European network of protected areas, areas protected under the Birds and Habitats Directive. Natura 2000 is in fact the largest network of protected areas in the world, covering over 18% of Europe’s territory! The European Commission launched the Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process in 2012 to share knowledge among stakeholders and governments, and to enhance an effective implementation of Natura 2000.
Since 2018 Wageningen Environmental Research, with five European partners, supports the European Commission in the biogeographical process. It is a cooperation process at the biogeographical level and uses seminars and networking events to address and discuss common problems and exchange results and ideas. Seminars are held in all biogeographical regions (Boreal, Atlantic, Alpine, Continental, Mediterranean, Macaronesian, Marine). They discuss issues related to Natura 2000-conservation objectives and favorable reference values; how to restore habitats and species, how to arrange transboundary management of Natura 2000 areas, or transboundary cooperation for species protection. Also, the consortium guides and provides input for the implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy 2030. Through the consortium network we have access to experts and stakeholders in different regions of Europe, which is important for the delivery of support services.
Since 2021, the Biogeographical process supports Member States in the implementation of the Biodiversity strategy 2030, and in particular the national pledges for protected areas (30% protected areas, of which 10% strictly protected) and the 30% status improvement target for habitats and species.
Six times per year a Newsletter is prepared. These newsletters promote upcoming biogeographical seminars and events, report on relevant meetings, and to share updates on news and achievements related to Natura 2000 across Europe. As of April 2023, the biogeographical process newsletter has over 1,300 subscribers. If you are interested please subscribe through the website or the e-mail address Natura2000platform@wur.nl .
The Biogeographical Process team is also hosting the EU communication platform, which aims to provide current information about Natura 2000 conservation across all biogeographic regions. Online communications is used to support Natura 2000 site managers, policymakers, civil society organisations and land managers in their efforts to achieve favourable conservation status of Europe’s most precious habitats. Acting as a hub, this platform provides access to available management knowledge, relevant contacts, as well as relevant events, documents and news.
All reports and documents related to the seminars and networking events around Natura 2000 can be found on the wiki which provides free and easy access with just one click of a button. The wiki will be kept updated with all the latest news around the pledge and review process, networking events and seminars. You can access it here.
From Wageningen Environmental Research, Theo van der Sluis (project leader), Irene Bouwma, Anne Schmidt, Jolanda Dirksen, Rene Henkens and Lawrence Jones-Walters are involved.