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Review charts the 20-year development of Europe's Natura 2000 protected area network

The Habitats Directive is 20 years old this year. A recently published article reviews the development of the Natura 2000 during that time

A review published recently describes how the Natura 2000 network has evolved since the establishment of the Habitats Directive in 1992. The paper by Douglas Evans is published in volume 1 of a new open access journal, Nature Conservation.

The abstract of the paper reads: "In the second half of the 20th Century there was a growing awareness of environmental problems, including the loss of species and habitats, resulting in many national and international initiatives, including the creation of organisations, such as the IUCN, treaties and conventions, such as Ramsar and the Berne Convention, and the establishment of networks of protected areas. Natura 2000 is a network of sites in the European Union for selected species and habitats listed in the 1979 Birds Directive and the 1992 Habitats Directive. Under the Habitats Directive a series of seminars and other meetings have been held with agreed criteria to ensure a coherent network. Despite both scientific and political difficulties the network is now nearing completion. "

The author, who currently works in the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity, has been closely involved in the development of Natura 2000 since 1993.


Full details

Evans, D. (2012). Building the European Union’s Natura 2000 network. Nature Conservation 1: 11–26

Available online:

doi: 10.3897/natureconservation.1.1808