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Annexes of the Habitats Directive
Appropriate assessment

Article 6 (Habitats Directive)
Birds Directive

Biodiversity Convention

Biogeographical region

Biogeographical seminars


Buffer Zone


Convention on Biological Diversity

Habitats Directive

Deterioration prohibition

Duty to report



Endangered Species



European Commission (EC)

European Court of Justice


Favourable conservation status


Habitats Committee

Habitat of a species

Habitats Directive

IBA – Important Bird Area

Invasive Species


Management plan




Priority habitat type

Priority species

pSCI (proposed Site of Community Importance)

Ramsar site

Rare Species

Red Data Book


Site of Community importance (SCI)

SAC, Special Area of Conservation

SPA, Special Protection Area



Species of Community interest

Standard Data Form

Threatened Species

Annexes of the Habitats Directive - Back to top

The Habitats Directive includes six annexes, which refer to the various articles of the Directive. Annex I lists around 230 habitat types of Community interest that require site protection through Natura 2000. Annex II lists over 1000 plant and animal species of Community interest that require site protection. Annex III lists the criteria for the selection Sites of NATURA 2000 sites. In Annexes IV and VI specific species protection regulations are defined.

Appropriate assessment - Back to top

According to Art. 6 (3) HD any plan or project likely to have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site shall be subject to an appropriate assessment, which refers to the specific conservation objectives of that site. With the help of an appropriate assessment the implications of a plan or project on specific, selected protected areas with their biotopes and species are verified. The conclusions of the assessment indicate if the project or plan can be approved or not.
Guidance Appropriate Assessment (English):

Article 6 (Habitats Directive) - Back to top

Consolidated version 1. 1. 2007
1. For special areas of conservation, Member States shall establish the necessary conservation measures involving, if need be, appropriate management plans specifically designed for the sites or integrated into other development plans, and appropriate statutory, administrative or contractual measures which correspond to the ecological requirements of the natural habitat types in Annex I and the species in Annex II present on the sites.
2. Member States shall take appropriate steps to avoid, in the special areas of conservation, the deterioration of natural habitats and the habitats of species as well as disturbance of the species for which the areas have been designated, in so far as such disturbance could be significant in relation to the objectives of this Directive.
3. Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site's conservation objectives. In the light of the conclusions of the assessment of the implications for the site and subject to the provisions of paragraph 4, the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned and, if appropriate, after having obtained the opinion of the general public.
4. If, in spite of a negative assessment of the implications for the site and in the absence of alternative solutions, a plan or project must nevertheless be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest, including those of a social or economic nature, the Member State shall take all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected. It shall inform the Commission of the compensatory measures adopted. Where the site concerned hosts a priority natural habitat type and/or a priority species, the only considerations which may be raised are those relating to human health or public safety, to beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment or, further to an opinion from the Commission, to other imperative reasons of overriding public interest.”
Further information:
Guidance Appropriate Assessment (English):

Birds Directive - Back to top

The Birds Directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979) was adopted in 1979 and aims to protect all wild birds and their most important habitats across their entire natural range within the EU. The Directive puts an end to certain practices, such as the keeping or sale of native wild birds, and introduces a legal mechanism for regulating other activities, such as hunting, to ensure that they are sustainable.
It also requires all EU Member States to protect the most important sites as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for over 190 threatened species and all migratory birds, paying particular attention to wetlands of international importance.

Biodiversity - Back to top

The variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems." (UN Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992)

Biodiversity Convention - Back to top

The UN Convention on Biodiversity at the UNCED Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 1992 to safeguard the total variety of animals, plants and all other living matter on Earth (Anon, 2001).

Biogeographical region - Back to top

The EU has nine biogeographical regions, each with its own characteristic blend of vegetation, climate, topography and geology. The boundaries between each region are not hard and fast but they make it much easier to check how trends in species and habitat conservation vary under similar natural conditions across Europe, irrespective of national borders.
The nine regions include: Alpine, Boreal, Atlantic, Continental, Pannonian, Mediterranean, Steppic, Black Sea and Macaronesian.
Map or download:

Biogeographical seminars - Back to top

Seminars are held for each biogeographical region to discuss the scientific assessments of the site-proposals by Member state. The DG Environment of European Commission chairs the discussions during the seminar while the European Topic Centre (More Information: ETC) provides a scientific evaluation of the proposals:

  • a Reference List (distribution of Annex I habitat types and Annex II species by biogeographic region and by Member states) reviewed during the scientific seminar and adopted with the Community list of SCIs (see here current reference lists) ;
  • an assessment of the degree of representativity of Annex I habitats and Annex II species present in SCIs proposed by each Member State (unpublished);
  • Conclusions giving details of which habitats and species require additional proposals or corrections to existing proposals (see here current conclusions).

DG Environment, together with the Member states, established a format and timetable for the Biogeographic seminars (HAB 97/3 Rev. 3 10/11/97).
The Biogeographic seminars include the following groups of participants:

  • European Commission,
  • Member States,
  • Individual experts invited by ETC
  • Representative of the European Habitat Forum, (Nature conservation NGOs)
  • Representative of the Forum Natura 2000 , (land owner & users organisations)
  • Representative of accession countries or other Member States (as observers).

Biotop - Back to top

The physical habitat with its associated, distinctive biological communities. The smallest unit of a habitat that can be delineated conveniently and it is characterised by the community of plants and animals living there (Anon, 2001).

Buffer Zone - Back to top

An area of land on which development is regulated in order to maintain an adequate distance between sensitive areas and potentially harmful development.

Conservation - Back to top

A series of measures required to maintain or restore the natural habitats and the populations of species of wild fauna and flora at a favourable status.

Convention on Biological Diversity - Back to top

This is an International Treaty that was adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Convention has three main goals:
1. Conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity);
2. Sustainable use of its components; and
3. Fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.

Habitats Directive - Back to top

The Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992) was adopted in 1992. This introduces similar measures to the Birds Directive but extends its coverage to a further 1000 species (plants, mammals, invertebrates etc…) and for the first time also protects certain types of natural and semi-natural habitats in their own right. The Habitats Directive is also more precise (Article 6) concerning the necessity and the conditions for plans or projects which affects to habitats and species have to be assessed. In this case

Deterioration prohibition - Back to top

According to Art. 6 (2) HD member states shall take appropriate steps to avoid, in the special areas of conservation, the deterioration of natural habitats and the habitats of species as well as disturbance of the species for which the areas have been designated, in so far as such disturbance could be significant in relation to the objectives of this Directive.

Duty to report - Back to top

Every 6 years according to Art. 17 (1) HD the member states have to compile a comprehensive report about the implementation of the measures defined within the framework of the HD as well as perform an evaluation on the effects these measures have on the conservation status of the habitats of Annex I and the species of Annex II. In addition every 2 years according to Art. 16 (2) HD a report about species conservation in connection with granted exceptions have to be provided.
Every 3 years according to Art. 12 BD the member states deliver a conclusive report on the application of the national law of the member states issued on the basis of this directive.

Directive - Back to top

A directive is a legislative act of the European Union which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result. It can be distinguished from European Union regulations which are self-executing and do not require any implementing measures. Directives normally leave member states with a certain amount of leeway as to the exact rules to be adopted.

Ecosystem - Back to top

This term comprises of two separate words – ecological and system and refers to all biotic and abiotic components, their interactions with each other; in some defined area, with no conceptual restrictions on how large or small that area can be.

Endangered Species - Back to top

A population of an organism (usually a species) which because it is either
(a) Few in number or
(b) Threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters, is at risk of becoming extinct.

Endemic - Back to top

Species, which only occur in a strictly limited geographical area, for example on an island or exclusively on mountain range. In the Directive it is mainly used for species which are limited to one member state and also do not occur outside of the EC.

EU - Back to top

The European Union is established in accordance with the Treaty on European Union. There
are currently 27 Member States of the Union (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania). It is based on the European Communities and the member states co-operation in the fields of Common Foreign and Security Policy and Justice and Home Affairs. The five main institutions of the European Union are the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission, the Court of Justice and the Court of Auditors.
The European Union is a major player in international co-operation and development aid. It is
also the world’s largest humanitarian aid donor. Today, the European Community has
political and financial responsibility for over 11% of the world’s public aid (ODA), compared
with 5% in 1985.
The primary aim of the EC’s own development policy, agreed in November 2000, is the eradication of poverty. To enhance its impact, the EC is targeting its assistance on six priorityareas: trade and development; regional integration and co-operation; support to macroeconomic policies and equitable access to social services; transport; food security and
sustainable rural development; institutional capacity building, good governance and the rule Communication and Visibility Manual for EU External Actionsmof law. In addition to these core areas, important crosscutting issues are being mainstreamed into development activities namely: human rights, gender equality, environment and conflict prevention.
More information:

European Commission (EC) - Back to top

Executive body of the European Union based in Brussels, in addition solely appointed with the power of initiative for EU legislation. Consists of commissioners with assigned cabinets and the president of the commission. The administrative body, amongst others, is formed by the General Secretariat, the legal service and 36 Directorates-General, among them e.g. agriculture (AGRI), environment (ENV), research (RTD) and fishery (FISH). Main tasks of the commission: monitoring of the member states, administration, imposition of sanctions, preparation of proposals to the Council, legislature to implement Council acts, opinions, negotiation of agreements and the representation of the EU in court.
More information:

European Court of Justice - Back to top

European Court of Justice based in Luxemburg. Main tasks: assertion of legal protection for legal actions of the commission against member states, actions of one member states against another member state, actions for annulment against the council or the commission and actions for failure to act.

Extinction - Back to top

The end of existence of a species.

Favourable conservation status - Back to top

The Directive establishes a coherent network of NATURA 2000 sites, to enable the habitats and species to be maintained or restored at favourable conservation status in their natural range. The conservation status means the sum of the influences acting on habitats and the species concerned that may affect the long-term distribution and abundance of its populations within the territory of species. The conservation status means is considered favourable when

  • population dynamics data on the species concerned indicate that it is maintaining itself on a long-term basis as a viable component of its natural habitats, and
  • the natural range of the species is neither being reduced nor is likely to be reduced for the foreseeable future, and
  • there is, and will probably continue to be, a sufficiently large habitat to maintain its populations on a long-term basis;

Habitat - Back to top

Habitat means terrestrial or aquatic areas distinguished by geographic, abiotic and biotic features, whether entirely natural or semi-natural.

Habitats Committee - Back to top

Committee appointed to facilitate the implementation of the Habitats Directive (Article 20, 21) and to support the European Commission.

Habitat of a species - Back to top

An environment defined by specific abiotic and biotic factors, in which the species lives at any stage of its biological cycle – eg hibernation place, breeding place, feeding place, resting place.

Habitats Directive - Back to top

A European Directive that aims to provide for conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora in Europe.
See comment above

IBA – Important Bird Area - Back to top

An Important Bird Area (IBA) is an area designated as being globally important habitat for the conservation of bird populations. The program was developed by BirdLife International; IBAs in a given country are designated by a national conservation organization. IBAs are an important base for the designation of SPAs.

Invasive Species - Back to top

An invasive species is one that is introduced to an area where it does not naturally occur and is able to establish a population without human, or other, intervention.

Life+ - Back to top

With a budget of €2.143 billion (for the period 2007-2013), LIFE+ is a limited but focused funding instrument providing specific support for the development and implementation of Community environmental policy and legislation, in particular the objectives of the 6th EAP (Decision 1600/2002/EC) and resulting thematic strategies. It comprises three components:

  • LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity
  • LIFE+ Environment Policy & Governance
  • LIFE+ Information & Communication

At least 78% of LIFE+ will be for the co-financing of project action grants, of which at least 50% will be for nature and biodiversity projects. The European Commission will use the remaining sum for operational expenses.
Only expenditure in EU27 countries is eligible at present, although the future participation of certain third countries is possible if supplementary appropriations are received (see Article 8 of the LIFE+ Regulation).
The Commission will organise the annual call for proposals and, with the help of external experts, will select, revise and monitor the projects and be responsible for making the appropriate payments. Member States will forward the project proposals to the Commission, may set national priorities and objectives (from 2008 onwards) and may prepare comments on proposals, in particular in relation to national annual priorities.
More information:

Management plan - Back to top

Detailed plan for a specific Natura 2000 site which according to Article 6 of the Habitats Directive defines the necessary conservation measures for the site. The plan has to take the ecologic requirements of the habitats and species into consideration. Art. 6 doesn’t obly Managementplans (only conservations measures are mandatory)

Monitoring - Back to top

Regular checks to see if the plants and animals are going well or not. For NATURA 2000 it means obligation to monitor the conservation status of habitats of Annex I and species of Annex II, IV and V with special consideration for the priority habitats and species according to Art. 11 HD.

NATURA 2000 - Back to top

A network of marine and terrestrial areas of international importance designed to conserve natural habitats and species of plants and animals that are rare, endangered or vulnerable protected under EU law. NATURA 2000 sites consist of SACs (protected sites based on the Habitats Directive) and SPAs (protected sites based on the Birds Directive)

Habitat types of Community interest
Those natural habitat types which, within the territory are
a) in danger of disappearance in their natural range (see also: Priority natural habitat type) , or
b) have a small natural range following their regression or by reason of their intrinsically restricted area, or
c) present outstanding examples of typical characteristics of one or more of the following biogeographical regions: Alpine, Boreal, Atlantic, Continental, Pannonian, Mediterranean, Steppic, Black Sea and Macaronesian

NGO - Back to top

Non-Governmental Organisation

Priority habitat type - Back to top

Natural habitat types in danger of disappearance, which are present on the territory referred to in Art. 2 and for the conservation of which the Community has particular responsibility in view of the proportion of their natural range which falls within the territory referred to in Art. 2, these priority natural habitat types are indicated by an asterisk (*) ind Annex I of the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.

Priority species - Back to top

Species for the conservation of which the Community has particular responsibility in view of the proportion of their natural range which falls within the territory, these priority species are indicated by an asterisk (*) in Annex II of the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.

pSCI (proposed Site of Community Importance) - Back to top

Proposed sites of community interest on the national evaluation list
See also: SCI.

Ramsar site - Back to top

A wetland area of international importance for birds protected through the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (1979).

Rare Species - Back to top

An organism that is very uncommon or scarce or that occurs in a very restricted geographical area or that has a wide distribution range but never occurs in large numbers

Red Data Book - Back to top

This book is a document listing all rare and endangered species of animals, plants and fungi, as well as some local subspecies.
Red Data Book Croatia:

Site - Back to top

Site means a geographically defined area whose extent is clearly delineated.

Site of Community importance (SCI) - Back to top

A Site which, in the biogeographical region or regions to which it belongs, contributes significantly to the maintenance or restoration at a favourable conservation status of a natural habitat type in Annex I or of a species in Annex II of the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, and may also contribute significantly to the coherence of Natura 2000, and/or contributes significantly to the maintenance of a biological diversity within the biogeographic region or regions concerned.
For animal species ranging over wide areas, sites of Community importance shall correspond to the places within the natural range of such species which present the physical or biological factors essential to their life and reproduction
See also: pSCI.

SAC, Special Area of Conservation - Back to top

Special Area of Conservation means a site of Community importance designated by the Member States through a statutory, administrative and/or contractual act where the necessary conservation measures are applied for the maintenance or restoration, at a favourable conservation status, of the natural habitats and/or the populations of the species for which the site is designated;
Member states are required to identify sites for designation and establish measures necessary for conservation. (Together with SPAs, SACs form a network of European sites known as Natura 2000.)

SPA, Special Protection Area - Back to top

Designated wild bird areas to comply with the EC Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds - (79/409/EEC). (Together with SACs, SPAs form a network of European Sites known as Natura 2000.)

Specimen - Back to top

Any animal or plant, whether alive or dead, of the species listed in Annex IV and Annex V, any part or derivative thereof, as well as any other goods which appear, from an accompanying document, the packaging or a mark or label, or from any other circumstances, to be parts or derivatives of animals or plants of those species.

Species - Back to top

This term refers to all the individual organisms of a natural population which are able to interbreed, generally sharing similar appearance, characteristics and genetics due to having relatively recent common ancestors.
Each Genus is divided into several species, with this species providing the second taxonomical name for an organism. For example, the species lupus can be found under the Genus Canis. Canis lupus is the taxonomical name for the Grey Wolf.

Species of Community interest - Back to top

Species which, within the territory are

  • endangered, except those species whose natural range is marginal in that territory and which are not endangered or vulnerable in the western palearctic region; or
  • vulnerable, i.e. believed likely to move into the endangered category in the near future if the causal factors continue operating; or
  • rare, i.e. with small populations that are not at present endangered or vulnerable, but are at risk. The species are located within restricted geographical areas or are thinly scattered over a more extensive range; or
  • endemic and requiring particular attention by reason of the specific nature of their habitat and/or the potential impact of their exploitation on their habitat and/or the potential impact of their exploitation on their conservation status.

Standard Data Form - Back to top

Nature 2000 designation sheet, for the designation of sites according to the Habitats and Birds Directives standardised form which is ratified by the Habitat Committee

Threatened Species - Back to top

Plants and animals that are vulnerable to extinction.