The Natura 2000 Network
Natura 2000 is the largest network of protected areas in the world, which all member states of the European Union designate in their territories according to horizontal principles. It helps to protect and preserve rare and endangered wild animal and plant species and habitats for future generations. These parts of nature, which form target features of the Natura 2000 network areas, may therefore be somewhat different from those for which national parks, protected landscape areas or small-size specially protected areas are designed in the Czech Republic.
The reason is because the scarcity, threats and importance of such protected species and habitats are assessed across whole Europe – and that is why joint and equivalent efforts across the EU are needed to protect them effectively. However, this does not mean that the “Czech” specially protected areas and the “European” Natura 2000 network are completely different in terms of their focus. In many cases, they overlap, have common goals and coexist as effective tools for territorial conservation of biodiversity, both in the Czech Republic and in Europe.
The Natura 2000 network was established on the basis of:
Directive 2009/147/EC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds, as amended (known as “Birds Directive”), on the basis of which 41 Special Protection Areas are designated in the Czech Republic
Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, as amended (known as “Habitats Directive”), on the basis of which 1,113 Sites of Community Importance are designated.
In the Czech Republic, the Natura 2000 network is implemented through designation of Special Protection Areas and Sites of Community Importance which often overlap with the national specially protected areas, such as national parks or protected landscape areas.
For more information about the network, see the Natura 2000 website of the Ministry of the Environment.
Natura 2000 sites
The Nature Conservation Agency (NCA) manages the Nature Conservancy Central Register. It also includes links to separate map websites of Bird Areas (in Czech) and Sites of Community Importance (in Czech) with detailed information about individual sites. Below, there are maps of the Czech Republic. The first map shows all sites, the second one shows the sites administered by the NCA which are the target localities of the One Nature project.
History of the Natura 2000 network designation
The selection of Natura 2000 sites is made on the basis of scientific data, e.g. population abundance of plant and animal species, area size and status of the habitat. Sites may be declared on land owned by the state or a private entity, within existing protected areas or in areas not yet protected.
In 2000–2004, mapping of individual species and habitats was carried out. More than 750 professional and volunteer researchers had been involved in obtaining unique data on the state of the Czech nature. Subsequently, in a six-year cycle, repeated regular monitoring of the status of individual habitat types and species, so-called biomonitoring, has taken place – more at www.biomonitoring.cz (only in Czech).
In 2005, based on species and habitat mapping, Special Protection Areas were specified and the national list of Sites of Community Importance was drawn up.
In 2013, the Priority Action Framework (PAF) was prepared and adopted for the Natura 2000 network for the period 2014–2020. This Strategic multiannual instrument provides an overview of all measures necessary to ensure that the Natura 2000 network is fulfilled in each country. At the same time, it defines the financial demands on the implementation of selected measures of management of protected areas in Europe.
The Priority Action Framework for 2021-2027 is currently being developed and prepared.