The NATURA 2000 network

The Natura 2000 network is a European ecological network of areas that host natural habitat types and habitats of species that are important at European level. Its purpose is to ensure the long term sustainability of the most valuable and threatened species and habitats in Europe. It is a tool for the implementation of the EU policy for the protection of nature and biodiversity which was founded in May 1992 with the adoption of the Habitats Directive, which complements the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC). Specifically, the network consists of two types of areas:

  • Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for Birds, as defined in Directive 79/409/EU
  • Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), as defined in Directive 92/43/EEC

Greece has included 241 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and 202 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) in the Natura 2000 network, which in some cases overlap each other. According to official data of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change the total area of the Natura 2000 network amounts to 4.294.205 ha and covers 27.2 % of the national territory and 6.1 % of its territorial waters. This area corresponds to 4.5 % of the total area of the European Network.