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5. Current state of the network

The designation of protected areas is a cornerstone for the conservation of biodiversity worldwide, from genes to species, habitats and ecosystems. Within the legal framework of the European Union, site designation is a crucial mechanism for the protection of biodiversity. Progress in this area is regularly communicated to the public via several indicators and statistics.

Natura 2000 barometer

The Natura 2000 barometer shows the current statistics on site proposals by Member State regarding Sites of Community Interest and Special Protection Areas. It gives the number and total area of sites designated both in terrestrial and marine parts of the European Union. The Commission produces, twice a year, a Natura 2000 newsletter in which the Natura 2000 barometer is published. The newsletters, which are published in a number of languages are available here


Figures on the number of habitat types and species in the annexes of the Birds and Habitats Directive are available here.

Union Lists (formerly known as Community Lists)

Statistics of the Union Lists are presented by European biogeographical regions. Union Lists are the official list of SCIs adopted each year by the Habitats Committee and are derived from the databases sent by Member States. However, the final total figures of the Union Lists and those presented in the Natura 2000 barometer (see above) may differ slightly due to different submission deadlines for both indices and as the result of negotiations on individual sites between Member States and the European Commission.

Detailed Conclusions

Detailed conclusions list the remaining work to be done with the Natura 2000 databases and on designation of new sites by Member State and by biogeographical region. Detailed conclusions are available here.

Natura 2000 viewer

The Natura 2000 viewer is available here. This allows the public to view all the Natura 2000 spatial data (sensitive species are removed). The Natura 2000 data can be downloaded here.

Natura 2000 maps

Maps of the Natura 2000 network are available here.

Natura 2000 in the general picture of protected areas in Europe

In October 2012 the EEA published a report on 'Protected Areas in Europe- an overview'.. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of protected areas and aims to assist policy makers and the wider public in understanding the complexity of the current systems of protected areas. The report has a chapter devoted to discussion and analysis of the Natura 2000 network.

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