Learning from sectoral experience in Natura 2000 sites, a showcase by ECNC Group

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Snethlage, M., B. Delbaere, P. Fernandez, L. García, M. Ferreira and M. Kaandorp (2012) Sectoral Experience with Natura 2000. ECNC Group, Tilburg / Leiden. 138 p.

This report presents the findings of a one-year project seeking to analyse the mutual interactions between the implementation of the Natura 2000 network and the activities of a selection of three sectors in five North-Western European EU Member States. The main question addressed by this study was ‘How can the (economic) activities of key sectors be reconciled with measures towards achieving a favourable conservation status of Natura 2000 sites?’

This project, carried out by the ECNC Group (thus including Coastal&Marine Union and EUCC Mediterranean Centre), therefore aimed to identify the pressures from the sectors on Natura 2000 implementation, the responses from the nature conservation agencies/actors to these pressures, the conflicts that arise from the pressures and responses, and the solutions that have been found to address these conflicts.

The report presents a qualitative analysis based on a review of published sources, interviews with sector representatives, a selection and description of case studies and a final validation with researchers. Wherever possible, claims have been verified. However, much in the debate around Natura 2000 implementation is based upon opinions.

The results of this project come as the implementation process of management plans for Natura 2000 sites is under way in most Member States. Step by step, Member States and all stakeholders involved in this process are acquiring more knowledge and experience about the do’s and don’ts. The results of this project therefore represent a snapshot of the implementation process and the first conclusions and recommendations based on partial implementation.

However, the authors consider that, in spite of this, the review and analysis of the current state of implementation and the conclusions and recommendations they generate can provide a valuable input to the Member States and other stakeholders in their efforts to improve the implementation of management plans for the sites. They also provide guidance to economic sectors on how to deal with challenges posed in connection with Natura 2000.