Nature protection - NATURA 2000

Natura 2000 is the ecological network consisting of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and rare natural habitat types in the European Union. The ecological network of the Republic of Croatia was promulgated in the Regulation on Ecological Network (OG 124/13), and its goal is to preserve or restore favourable conditions for more than a thousand endangered and rare species, and around 230 natural and semi natural habitat types.
So far, around 30 000 areas have been included in this ecological network accounting for almost 20% of the EU territory, making it the largest system of preserved areas in the world. The ecological network in the Republic of Croatia covers 36.67% of land and 16.39% of the sea along the coastline.
Natura 2000 is based on EU directives, the areas are selected using scientific criteria, while in the management of these areas the interest and welfare of the inhabitants are taken into account.
Even though it has been significantly altered by anthropogenic activity, European nature is still very diverse in terms of habitat. Expansive natural forests, meadows and grasslands, wetlands, and unregulated rivers, sea, underground and other habitats populated by numerous species still represent a wealth of the European natural heritage. Many of these habitats are the result of the traditional methods of using spaces that do not jeopardise biological diversity but on the contrary, they boost this diversity. During the last decades, human activity and use of natural resources have significantly changed in the whole world. The state of biological diversity has dramatically deteriorated in the last 50 years, more so than throughout the entire history of humankind. Due to human activity, species are dying out 1000 times faster than would be the case in the natural circumstances. These loses have overshadowed nature’s productivity and thereby put the long-term survival of humanity at risk. More than 700 species, mostly birds and mammals, have been entered in the Red List of Threatened Species at risk from extinction in Europe. Not only endangered rare or endemic species are at risk, but also many other species that, even though their populations are still high, are rapidly losing favourable habitats, which could lead to their imminent extinction. Natura 2000 is the base programme whereby the European Union is trying to stop these negative trends on its territory.