On 21st May, we have celebrated the International Natura 2000 day – nature protection programme.
Natura 2000 is a network of protected natural areas on the territory of the European Union. It consists of special areas of conservation and special protection areas created under the guidelines of the European Habitat Directive and the European Birds Directive. The network includes both terrestrial and marine sites.
In 1992, the governments of the EU member states have adopted the legislation so as to protect the most endangered habitats and species throughout Europe.
Today, the programme protects about 18 percent of the territory of all EU states (787,767 km2 in 2013) and covers almost all types of terrestrial ecosystems in Europe.
In addition to protecting the natural wealth of Europe, the network also contributes to the European GDP, from 1.7 to 2.5 percent through commissions from ecosystem services, such as water treatment, pollination of plants, and tourism.