Conservation of a wide range of animal and plant species as well as habitat types in Europe is ensured by the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. To assess the conservation status of habitat types and species, it is necessary to determine reference levels that define when the favourable conservation status is actually being achieved. Wageningen Environmental Research (WENR) developed a common methodology for setting these so-called favourable reference values.
The Habitats Directive considers explicit reference values, while the Birds Directive requires to maintain bird populations at a level which corresponds to their ecological, scientific and cultural requirements. Until now, the favourable reference values were often applied inconsistently across EU Member States. In 2016, the European Commission DG Environment granted a service contract to WENR and several partners to develop a common methodology for setting reference values by EU member states, for species and habitat types of both directives.
Technical and Examples report
This study resulted in a Technical Report and an additional report with examples of setting favourable reference values for a broad range of species and habitats, including: whales, dolphins, wolf, lynx, white-tailed eagle, salmon, fen orchid, alpine and Mediterranean woodland types, semi-natural grasslands and sand banks.