Today we celebrate the European Natura 2000 Day

21.05.2015

Photo: Svetoslav Spasov, www.NatureImages.eu

21st of May is the European Natura 2000 Day. Despite its 20 year history and its ecological, social and economic importance, the Natura 2000 network is known only by few citizens. This lack of awareness by citizens is one of the main problems of the Natura 2000 Network. The goal of the network is to maintain the biological diversity hand in hand with regional sustainable development, considering the economic, social and cultural context.

On the occasion of the day the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) under the LIFE + project "The Return of the Neophron" organizes a meeting with representatives of the municipality of Madjarovo with a presentation on the history of Natura 2000 in Bulgaria and Europe, BSPB work related to the Natura 2000 Network, its impact and the problems that need to work together with the institutions.

The Nature Conservation Center of BSPB “Eastern Rhodopy” announces open day for everybody, with a special invitation, addressed to local people of Madzharovo and the region.

On the territory of Madzharovo there are 174 bird species in the region; 40 of them are included in the Bulgarian Red List, and 78 have conservation significance on a European level. Here is one of the two colonies of the Griffon vulture in Bulgaria. Madzharovo is among the most important sites in Bulgaria for the protection and conservation of birds of prey, in particular the globally threatened Egyptian vulture.

Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature & biodiversity policy. It is an EUwide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) designated by Member States under the Habitats Directive, and also incorporates Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which they designate under the 1979 Birds Directive. Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves where all human activities are excluded.

Currently, the Natura 2000 network consists of 27,308 sites covering a total of 18.36% of the area of the 28 EU member states, with percentage of national territory designated to the Natura 2000 ranging from 8.32% in Denmark to 37.85% in Slovenia. The Natura 2000 in Bulgaria consisted of 114 SPAs and 228 SCIs with coverage of 20.4% and 29.5%, respectively (the total coverage of Natura 2000 network was 33.8%).

Nowadays, conservation challenges in Bulgaria include lack of specialised administration dealing with the management and control of Natura 2000 sites, lack of management plans, easy land use change procedures, and insufficient capacity to implement appropriate assessment and screen development plans within the sites.

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