The areas protected under these two Directives form the Natura 2000 network. Its aim is to safeguard all of Europe’s major habitat types and endangered species and to enable them to recover and flourish over the long-term.
Member states must regulate all activities that could seriously disturb the species or damage the habitats for which the site is designated and take positive measures, if necessary, to maintain and restore these habitats and species to improve conservation.
Greece currently has 446 sites listed under the Natura 2000 network, representing 28% of the country’s terrestrial and 20% of its marine territory.
However, Natura 2000 is not just a network of protected nature reserves. It recognises that humans and nature work best in partnership. Its aim is not to exclude economic activities but ensure they are compatible with safeguarding valuable species and habitats.
The advantage of this approach is that, by encouraging sustainable forestry, fishing, agriculture and tourism, the network ensures a long-term future for the people who live in these areas and rely on these activities.