The Member States of the European Union have agreed to protect nature. Therefore all Member States have designated protected areas - called Natura 2000 sites that jointly form the Natura 2000 network. This network now consists of more than 27,000 sites and covers over 18% of the EU’s territory. This thesis reviews how different Member States have arranged the management of these sites and how people who own, use or live near these sites – or the organisations representing those people – have influenced the management of the sites. This thesis provides a comparative overview of the variation in policy instruments used by Member States for management and how these instruments have changed due to societal involvement of national and local actors. On the basis of these findings this thesis draws concrete lessons in possible improvements for policy instrumentation for the Natura 2000 network management.