Introduction to the Atlantic Region Natura Network
The European Union has nine bio-geographical regions, each of which retains its own characteristics in terms of variety of vegetation, climate and geology. Sites of Community Interest are selected according to each region on the basis of national lists submitted by each member state in the corresponding region.
Working at this level makes it easier to conserve the species and habitat types that show similar natural conditions across countries regardless of their political and administrative boundaries. Along with special protection areas for birds designated in the Birds Directive, the Sites of Community Interest selected for each bio-geographical region make up the Natura 2000 network, which covers 27 countries in the European Union. One such region is the Atlantic, where the TREMEDAL project is located.
Natura 2000 is a European ecological network of biodiversity conservation areas whose goal is the long-term survival of the species and most threatened habitats in Europe, helping to halt the loss of biodiversity caused by the negative impact of human activities.
It consists of Sites of Community Interest (SCI) declared by Member States under the Habitats Directive (1992/43) and Special Protection Areas for birds (SPAs) which are designated under the 1979 Birds Directive.
These SCIs should be designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) within six years according to the directive, given that it is necessary to develop a management plan that will establish the operational objectives, measures, and guidelines necessary to achieve the objectives.
According to data from 2009, Spain has designated 24.5% of its land area as Sites of Community Interest (SCI) and 20.6% as Special Protection Areas for birds (SPAs).