Mind the gap!" - How well does Natura 2000 cover species of European interest?

Bernd Gruber, Douglas Evans, Klaus Henle, Bianca Bauch, Dirk S. Schmeller, Frank Dziock, Pierre Yves Henry, S. Lengyel, Chris Margules, Carsten F. Dormann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Setting aside protected areas is widely recognized as one of the most effective measures to prevent species from extinction. Accordingly, there has been a tremendous effort by governments worldwide to establish protected areas, resulting in over 100,000 sites, which are set aside, to achieve the 10% target proposed at the Fourth World Park Congress in 1992 in Caracas. The main effort of the European Union to achieve this target is the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, comprising over 25,000 sites representing 18% of the area of the 27 Member States of the European Union. The designation of Natura 2000 sites was based on species and habitats listed in the Annexes of the Habitats and Birds Directive. The effectiveness of the selection process and the resulting Natura 2000 network has often been questioned as each country made its designations largely independently and in most cases without considering the theories of optimal reserve site selection. However, the effectiveness of the selection process and the Natura 2000 network has never been explicitly analysed at the European scale. Here we present such an analysis focusing on the representation of Annex II species of the Habitats Directive in the Natura 2000 network relative to a random allocation of species to sites. Our results show that the network is effective in covering target species and minimizing the number of gap species (i.e. species not represented in a single site of the Natura 2000 network). We demonstrate that the representation is uneven among species. Some species are overrepresented and many species are only represented in a low number of sites. We show that this is mainly due to differing patterns in species ranges, as wide-spread species are inevitably represented in many sites, but narrow ranged species are often covered only by a small number of sites in a particular area. Finally, we propose a representation index that detects species that are underrepresented and could be used to direct future conservation efforts.Copyright Bernd Gruber et al.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-63
Number of pages19
JournalNature Conservation
Volume3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 17 2012

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protected area
European Union
habitat
set-aside
site selection
extinction
bird
directive
allocation
congress
analysis
index
world

Keywords

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Conservation planning
  • Gap species
  • Habitats directive
  • Natura 2000 network
  • Reserve site selection
  • Reserve system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Gruber, B., Evans, D., Henle, K., Bauch, B., Schmeller, D. S., Dziock, F., ... Dormann, C. F. (2012). Mind the gap!" - How well does Natura 2000 cover species of European interest? Nature Conservation, 3, 45-63. https://doi.org/10.3897/natureconservation.3.3732

Mind the gap!" - How well does Natura 2000 cover species of European interest? / Gruber, Bernd; Evans, Douglas; Henle, Klaus; Bauch, Bianca; Schmeller, Dirk S.; Dziock, Frank; Henry, Pierre Yves; Lengyel, S.; Margules, Chris; Dormann, Carsten F.

In: Nature Conservation, Vol. 3, 17.12.2012, p. 45-63.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gruber, B, Evans, D, Henle, K, Bauch, B, Schmeller, DS, Dziock, F, Henry, PY, Lengyel, S, Margules, C & Dormann, CF 2012, 'Mind the gap!" - How well does Natura 2000 cover species of European interest?', Nature Conservation, vol. 3, pp. 45-63. https://doi.org/10.3897/natureconservation.3.3732
Gruber, Bernd ; Evans, Douglas ; Henle, Klaus ; Bauch, Bianca ; Schmeller, Dirk S. ; Dziock, Frank ; Henry, Pierre Yves ; Lengyel, S. ; Margules, Chris ; Dormann, Carsten F. / Mind the gap!" - How well does Natura 2000 cover species of European interest?. In: Nature Conservation. 2012 ; Vol. 3. pp. 45-63.
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