Nature and Society


Sectoral experience with Natura 2000

The majority of Natura 2000 sites in Europe – over 26,000, covering about 18% of Europe’s land surface - have been identified. With the network taking on its full shape, a range of economic sectors (notably those with a direct land-use connection) are gaining experience on the ways in which Natura 2000 affects their sector. This experience shows that the designated sites at times create barriers and restrictions for certain sectors. If left unattended, such barriers and restrictions can negatively influence the perception of and support for Natura 2000 by sectors and the wider public. In order to form an accurate picture of existing barriers and how sectors deal with such barriers, for instance by exploring the opportunities which these barriers can offer, there is a need for an assessment and analysis of the situation based on solid facts.


This project aimed to contribute to removing barriers and increasing support for Natura 2000 by economic sectors by fact finding, learning from each other and demonstrating sector-specific solutions for dealing with barriers. It in particular contributed to greater knowledge by economic sectors (agriculture, forestry, tourism and recreation) in the Netherlands and other EU Member States on how to deal with barriers posed by Natura 2000 and investigated whether these barriers could create opportunities.

Time frame

This was a one-year project which started in April 2011.


The project was carried out by the ECNC Group, consisting of ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation (Tilburg, the Netherlands) and the Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC; Leiden, the Netherlands), and Centro Mediterráneo EUCC (Barcelona, Spain).


This project was funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.