Implementation of the European network: Natura 2000 : Determined according to overarching EU directives or through compromising ecological aspects?

by Westfahl Backlund, Martina

Abstract (Summary)

Global biodiversity is currently being lost at an unprecedented rate, posing a threat to vital ecosystems and hence the generation of ecosystem services that human society is entirely reliant upon. Within the European Community, the EU has set a target of halting biodiversity loss within the territory by 2010. This goal is intended to be operationalized by the implementation of the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. These directives constitute the framework for the establishment of a coherent ecological network, referred to as the Natura 2000 network.

This study examines and analyses the socio-ecological complexities surrounding the designation of Natura 2000 sites in Östhammar municipality, Sweden. The use of a case study-approach to focus on this area is applied in pursuit of identifying and explaining the inherent intricacies in the designation processes and linking them to the broader global context. Throughout Europe, biodiversity exists in a rich variety of grasslands, but only a few studies have been performed to establish appropriate conservation management strategiesrequired for each habitat. This study makes a significant contribution towards shedding light on the Natura 2000 designation process, a phenomenon which has previously been only modestly documented, especially in Sweden. Ecosystem management is discussed and utilized as the theoretical basis for managing ecosystems sustainably, and an important aspect of note is the recognition that the distinction between man and nature needs to be understood as artificial and arbitrary.

The study explains how social-ecological factors have had a prominent effect on the designation process of Natura 2000 sites. The main determining factor behind the designation process has been the time-constraints, which have affected the designation of SCIs as well as the interaction between the Uppsala CAD and local stakeholders. The lack of adequate participatory approaches used during this process has heightened the risk of compromising the aim of the network: to achieve Favourable Conservation Status (FCS) for natural habitat types as well as species.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Södertörns högskola

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:ecosystem management biodiversity services social ecological systems habitats directive


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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