Natura 2000 is a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitat types which are protected in their own right. It stretches across all 28 EU countries, both on land and at sea. The aim of the network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed under both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.
As far as Greece is concerned, up until March 2018, the national list of the European ecological network Natura 2000 was in force. After April 2018 an update of national list has been done.
According to the old list, in Greece, 419 natura sites had been characterized as NATURA areas along the country. Of which, 217 had the more specific characterization “Sites of Community Importance (SCI)”, 178 “Special Protection Areas (SPA) for birds” and the rest had both characterizations.
The new data released, show differences between the new and old NATURA 2000 areas, since 32 new sites have been added to the list (23 SCI site types, 8 SPA and 1 SCI/SPA), and 5 older ones have been merged with others. Map 1 shows all new entries with hashed green. New sites occupy in total 10.029 km2 (about 7.5% of the country).
As a result, the number of the NATURA 2000 areas has now reached 446 (Map 2), having 239 areas characterized as “Special Areas of Conservation – (SAC)”, 181 as “Special Protection Areas (SPA) for birds” and the rest 26 areas as both characterizations.
We have examined the differences between the old and new NATURA 2000 areas. Map 3 shows differences between old and new NATURA 2000 areas. The sites with hashed red are the newest Natura 2000 areas.
Total area of new entries in Natura areas version 30 is 16.479 km2. If we take overlapping sites into consideration, then the total area increased by 31% (from 55.287 to 72.524 km2).
Authors: G.Tentes – C.Stamati