Natura 2000 Network

Natura 2000 is the name that the Council of Ministers of the European Union has assigned to a co-ordinate and coherent system (a "network") of sites to the conservation of the biological diversity in the territory of the same Union and, particularly, to the protection of habitat and species listed in annexes I and II of the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive.

Natura 2000, according to the Habitats Directive (art.3), is constituted from the Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and from the Special Protection Areas (SPAs). Currently, the network is composed from two types of areas: the Special Protected Areas (SPAs), previewed from the Birds Directives, and the Sites of Community Importance (SCIs); such areas can have various spatial inter-relations, from the total overlapping to the complete separation.

The localization of the sites has been realized in Italy from the single Regions and Autonomous Province in a process coordinated to central level (MoE). It has represented the occasion in order to structure a network of scientific supporters to the regional Administrations, in collaboration with the Italian scientific societies (the Italian Zoologist Union, the Italian Botanical Society, and the Italian Society of Ecology). The carried out activities, finalized to the improvement of the naturalistic knowledge on the national territory, go from the realization of the check-list to the description of the vegetation, from the realization of data banks on the distribution of the species to the start of monitoring plans on the naturalistic patrimony, to the realization of scientific papers, contributions and result dissemination.

To the aim to supply support to the States Members in the setting and the use of the tools, more opportune than EU, co-financing for the implementation of Natura 2000, the European Commission has launch the project "Financing Natura 2000: guidance and workshops", entrusted to the consortium formed from WWF (World Wildlife Fund), NOVA (Institute for Ecological and Political Innovation) and IEEP (Institute for European and Environmental Policy). In this project, the handbook “Guide to the financing of Natura 2000" (translate in 22 languages) has been published and national workshops in all Member States have been programmed. In Italy, two workshops, in collaboration between the MoE and the WWF, (26 September and t29 September 2006, respectively to Milan and Palermo), have been organizes so as to favour a full result dissemination on the national territory.