Tag Archives: Protection of plant life

Natural habitats

Natural habitats

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Natural habitats

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Protection of nature and biodiversity

Natural habitats (Natura 2000)

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The continuing deterioration of natural habitats and the threats posed to certain species are one of the main concerns of European Union (EU) environment policy. This Directive, known as the Habitats Directive, is intended to help maintain biodiversity in the Member States by defining a common framework for the conservation of wild plants and animals and habitats of Community interest.

The Habitats Directive established the “Natura 2000” network. This network is the largest ecological network in the world. It comprises special areas of conservation designated by Member States under the current Directive. Furthermore, it also includes special protection areas classified pursuant to the “Wild birds” Directive 2009/147/EC.

Annexes I and II to the Directive contain the types of habitats and species whose conservation requires the designation of special areas of conservation. Some of them are defined as “priority” habitats or species (in danger of disappearing). Annex IV lists animal and plant species in need of particularly strict protection.

Special areas of conservation are designated in three stages. Following the criteria set out in the annexes, each Member State must draw up a list of sites hosting natural habitats and wild fauna and flora. On the basis of the national lists and by agreement with the Member States, the Commission will then adopt a list of sites of Community importance for each of the nine EU biogeographical regions (the Alpine region, the Atlantic region, the Black Sea region, the Boreal region, the Continental region, the Macronesian region, the Mediterranean region, the Pannonian region and the Steppic region). No later than six years after the selection of a site of Community importance, the Member State concerned must designate it as a special area of conservation.

Where the Commission considers that a site which hosts a priority natural habitat type or a priority species has been omitted from a national list, the Directive provides for a bilateral consultation procedure to be initiated between that Member State and the Commission. If the result of the consultation is unsatisfactory, the Commission must forward a proposal to the Council relating to the selection of the site as a site of Community importance.

Member States must take all necessary measures to guarantee the conservation of habitats in special areas of conservation, and to avoid their deterioration and the significant disturbance of species. The Directive provides for co-financing of conservation measures by the Community.

Member States must also:

  • encourage the management of features of the landscape which are essential for the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species;
  • establish systems of strict protection for those animal and plant species which are particularly threatened (Annex IV) and study the desirability of reintroducing those species in their territory;
  • prohibit the use of non-selective methods of taking, capturing or killing certain animal and plant species (Annex V).

Every six years, Member States must report on the measures they have taken pursuant to the Directive. The Commission must draw up a summary report on the basis thereof.

The annexes to the Directive were amended to take account of the biodiversity of the countries who acceded to the EU in 2004 and 2007. The enlargement brought new challenges for biodiversity, as well as new elements, including three new biogeographical regions (the Black Sea region, the Pannonian region and the Steppic region).

The Natura 2000 network now represents around 18 % of the EU’s terrestrial territory.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 92/43/EEC

10.6.1992

10.6.1992

OJ L 206 of 22.7.1992

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 97/62/EC

29.11.1997

31.12.1997

OJ L 305 of 8.11.1997

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

Directive 2006/105/EC

1.1.2007

1.1.2007

OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006

The successive amendments and corrections successive to Directive 92/43/EEC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 13 July 2009 – Report on the Conservation Status of Habitat Types and Species as required under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive [COM(2009) 358 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report enabled the implementation of the Habitats Directive for the period 2001-2006 in the 25 Member States to be assessed. The report provides an overview of the biodiversity situation in the EU. It also constitutes a clear point of reference for assessing future trends in the status of its most vulnerable species and habitats.
The results show that favourable conservation status has not been achieved for many habitats and species listed under the Habitats Directive. Certain habitat types (in particular, grassland, wetland and coastal zones) have an overall poor status. Signs of recovery have been observed for certain species (for example, the wolf, Eurasian lynx, beaver and otter). However, further efforts are required to establish healthy and sustainable populations.
The Natura 2000 network must continue to develop; restoration measures for certain sites must be provided. The network and sites will then need to be managed effectively and properly resourced.
Lastly, a large number of Member States do not invest sufficient resources in monitoring the status of species and habitats within their territories. In the absence of reliable data it will be impossible to assess the impact of conservation measures.

Biogeographical regions

In line with the “Habitats Directive”, the Commission must, in agreement with the Member States concerned, draw up a list of sites of European importance for each of the nine biogeographical regions.

List of the Alpine region sites
Decision 2011/62/EU [Official Journal L 33 of 8.2.2011].

List of the Atlantic region sites
Decision 2011/63/EU [Official Journal L 33 of 8.2.2011].

List of the Black Sea region sites
Decision 2009/92/EC [Official Journal L 43 of 13.2.2009].

List of the Boreal region sites
Decision 2011/84/EU [Official Journal L 40 of 12.2.2011].

List of the Continental region sites
Decision 2011/64/EU [Official Journal L 33 of 8.2.2011].

List of the Macronesian region sites
Decision 2009/1001/EC [Official Journal L 344 of 23.12.2009].

List of the Mediterranean region sites
Decision 2011/85/EU [Official Journal L 40 of 12.2.2011].

List of the Pannonian region sites
Decision 2011/86/EU [Official Journal L 40 of 12.2.2011].

List of the Steppic region sites
Decision 2008/966/EC [Official Journal L 344 of 20.12.2008].

Financing Natura 2000

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 15 July 2004 – Financing Natura 2000 [COM(2004) 431– Not published in the Official Journal].
With completion of the Natura 2000 network, the management of designated sites will become the priority measure for protecting biodiversity in the EU. Sufficient funding will be required to ensure that the Natura 2000 network fulfils the objectives that have been set and is adapted to specific local requirements. The Commission considers that the network can bring considerable benefits, both economic (the development of ecosystem services, provision of food and wood products, activities related to the site such as tourism, etc.) and social (more diverse employment opportunities, increased social stability, improved living conditions, safeguarding heritage, etc.). A new Communication on financing Natura 2000 should be adopted by the end of 2011.

Protection of nature and biodiversity

Protection of nature and biodiversity

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of nature and biodiversity

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Protection of nature and biodiversity

Protection of nature and biodiversity

Increased urbanisation and the spread of human infrastructures, over-exploitation of natural resources, pollution in all its forms, the introduction of exotic species into our ecosystems – these factors are all highly damaging for biodiversity. As a result, 42% of mammals, 15% of birds and 52% of freshwater fish across Europe are under threat. In addition, nearly 1000 plant species are at serious risk or on the verge of disappearing completely. In order to safeguard biodiversity and combat the extinction of animal and plant species, the European Union has set up a vast network of protected sites (the Natura 2000 network) and made the protection of biodiversity one of the key objectives of the Sixth Environment Action Programme.

BIODIVERSITY

  • Biodiversity strategy for 2020
  • Action Plan for biodiversity
  • Biodiversity Action Plan for the Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Biodiversity Action Plan for Agriculture
  • Biodiversity Action Plan for Fisheries
  • Biodiversity Action Plan for Economic and Development Co-operation
  • Bern Convention
  • The Rio de Janeiro Convention on biological diversity

MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

  • Strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources
  • Environment and sustainable management of natural resources, including energy
  • Action plan for an integrated maritime policy

Biofuels

  • EU strategy for biofuels
  • Motor vehicles: use of biofuels

Management of marine resources

  • Conservation and exploitation of marine resources
  • Conservation of certain stocks of migratory fish
  • Conservation and management of sharks

FAUNA AND FLORA

  • Natural habitats (Natura 2000)
  • Conservation of wild birds
  • Endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES)
  • Conservation of Antarctic marine living resources
  • Conservation of migratory species – Bonn Convention
  • The keeping of wild animals in zoos
  • Protection of laboratory animals
  • Protecting cetaceans against incidental catch
  • Protection of certain seal species
  • International Dolphin Conservation Programme
  • Whaling
  • Protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from bottom fishing
  • Destructive fishing practices in the high seas and the protection of ecosystems
  • Alien and locally absent species
  • Combating invasive species
  • Convention on the Protection of the Alps
  • Ban on trade in cat and dog fur
  • Trade in seal products

FORESTS

  • FLEGT Licensing scheme
  • Fight against illegal logging
  • Combating deforestation
  • European Union forest action plan
  • The EU forestry strategy

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS

  • Contained use of genetically modified micro-organisms (GMMs)
  • Deliberate release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • Transboundary movement of genetically modified organisms
  • Novel foods and food ingredients
  • Traceability and labelling of GMOs
  • Food and Feed (GMO)

Endangered species of wild fauna and flora

Endangered species of wild fauna and flora

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Endangered species of wild fauna and flora

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Protection of nature and biodiversity

Endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES)

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein [See amending acts].

Summary

This Regulation applies in compliance with the objectives, principles and provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It establishes a list of endangered species in four annexes (A, B, C and D). The degree of protection and the nature of commercial measures that apply to the species concerned vary according to the Annex in which the species are listed.

Under this Regulation, common conditions apply to:

  • the issue, use and presentation of documents for the import, export or re-export of specimens of the species covered by the Regulation. Without prejudice to any stricter measures which may be taken by Member States, these documents are valid throughout the Community;
  • the sale or any other commercial transaction of specimens of the species listed in Annex A within the Community.

Introduction into the Community

Importation of specimens of endangered species is subject to:

  • the presentation of an import permit issued by a management authority of the Member State of destination or an import notification; and
  • completion of the necessary checks.

The Commission may at any time impose general import restrictions, or restrictions relating only to certain countries of origin; it publishes a list of such restrictions regularly in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Export or re-export outside the Community

The export or re-export of specimens of endangered species is subject to:

  • the presentation of an export permit or re-export certificate issued by a management authority of the Member State in which the specimens are located; and
  • completion of the necessary checks.

Rejection of requests for permits and certificates

When a Member State rejects an application for a permit or certificate, it immediately informs the Commission which, in turn, will be responsible for informing the other Member States.

Derogations

The Regulation establishes derogations for specimens born and bred in captivity or artificially propagated, for specimens in transit and for specimens forming part of personal and household effects or destined for scientific institutions.

Provisions relating to the control of commercial activities

The purchase of or trade in specimens of species in Annex A is prohibited.

Member States may also prohibit the holding of specimens of species in Annex A.

Movement of live specimens

The movement within the Community of live specimens of a species listed in Annex A is subject to prior authorisation from a management authority of the Member State in which the specimen is located.

The movement within the Community of live specimens of a species listed in Annex B is subject to compliance by the recipient with rules on animal protection (adequate housing and care).

The Commission may at any time impose restrictions on the holding or movement of live specimens of species in respect of which restrictions on introduction into the Community have been established.

Places of introduction and export

Member States must:

  • designate customs offices for carrying out the checks and formalities for the species covered by the Regulation. A list of these offices is published in the Official Journal of the European Union;
  • designate the management authorities and the scientific authorities responsible for implementation of the Regulation. A list of such authorities is published in the Official Journal of the European Union;
  • monitor compliance with the provisions of the Regulation and penalise infringements.

Communication of information

The Regulation introduces a system for the exchange of information between the various authorities concerned with the implementation of the Regulation: the Member States, the Commission, the CITES Secretariat, etc.

The Member States draw up annual reports detailing the volume of trade in specimens covered by the Regulation. Every two years, they draw up detailed reports on the implementation and application of the Regulation.

Background

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed in Washington on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 January 1975. It currently has 175 parties.

The CITES text was amended in 1983 to allow regional economic integration organisations such as the European Community to become parties to the Convention (Gaborone amendment). However, not enough parties have ratified the amendment for it to enter into force. Accordingly, the Community position at CITES conferences is represented by the EU Member States acting jointly from a position established by the Council.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 338/97

1.3.1997

OJ L 61 of 3.3.1997

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1497/2003

30.8.2003

OJ L 215 of 27.8.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

Regulation (EC) No 834/2004

19.5.2004

OJ L 127 of 29.4.2004

Regulation (EC) No 1332/2005

22.8.2005

OJ L 215 of 19.8.2005

Regulation (EC) No 398/2009

10.6.2009

OJ L 126 of 21.5.2009

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 338/97 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEXES

Annex I – List of endangered species
Regulation (EC) No 318/2008 [Official Journal L 95 of 8.4.2008];
Regulation (EC) No 407/2009 [Official Journal L 123 of 19.5.2009];
Regulation (EU) No 709/2010 [Official Journal L 212 of 12.8.2010].

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EU) No 997/2010 of 5 November 2010 suspending the introduction into the Union of specimens of certain species of wild fauna and flora [Official Journal L290 of 6.11.2010].

Implementing measures

Commission Recommendation 2007/425/EC of 13 June 2007 identifying a set of actions for the enforcement of Council Regulation No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein [Official Journal L 159 of 20.6.2007].
Member States should take a certain number of measures, including the adoption of national action plans for coordinating the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 338/97, the preparation of dissuasive penalties in cases of infringement of this Regulation, the appropriate provision of agencies responsible for the enforcement of the Regulation in terms of human and financial resources and training, the provision of adequate information to the public, regular checks of traders and holders of flora and fauna such as pet shops, breeders and nurseries, the appointing of national focal points for the exchange of information and intelligence, support for management and control capacity-building programmes in third countries as well as inter-departmental cooperation and exchange of information between Member States and with the appropriate management authorities (such as those of CITES, Interpol and the World Customs Organization).

Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 of 4 May 2006 laying down detailed rules concerning the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein [Official Journal L 166 of 19.6.2006].
The forms on which import permits, export permits and re-export certificates are drawn up must conform to the model in Annex I to this Regulation. The forms on which import notifications are drawn up must conform to the model in Annex II. Those on which certificates for travelling exhibitions are drawn up must conform to the model in Annex III. The forms on which continuation sheets for personal ownership certificates are drawn up must conform to the model set out in Annex IV. The forms provided for in Articles 5, 8 and 9 must conform to the models set out in Annex V. A model for labels is given in Annex VI. The codes to be included in the description of the specimens and the units of measurement to be used are listed in Annex VII. Annex VIII gives a list of references which can be used to indicate the scientific names of species. The purpose of a transaction and the source of species must be indicated using the codes in Annex IX. In addition, the Regulation lays down provisions on the issue, use and validity of the documents. It also introduces specific provisions on specimens born and bred in captivity or artificially propagated as well as for samples.
See consolidated version