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Natura 2000 could do a great deal more for nature protection
Date:9/3/2014

This news release is available in German.

Overall, Europe's nature conservation areas are having a positive effect on maintaining biodiversity, but are not working for all species. In particular, there is room for improvement for species which find it harder to disperse, according to an international research team led by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in its final report on the EU project SCALES. Whilst, for instance, many species of birds have no problem migrating between nature reserves, roads can be virtually insurmountable obstacles for many types of amphibians. The scientists therefore recommend that minimum standards for nature conservation be observed in the areas between protected areas as well. These minimum standards will have no negative impact on agricultural or forestry production, but would improve the connections between the areas under protection. This would do a great deal for nature protection for not much outlay.

Factors with an influence on biodiversity act at different scales. For this reason, a major EU project looked into these scales, with particular emphasis on the European nature protection network "Natura 2000". With over 26,000 onshore areas and covering around 17.5% of the area of the EU, "Natura 2000" is now the largest network of nature reserves in the world. However, what it chiefly lacks is functioning connections between the individual protected areas, which would allow rare species to migrate between them, securing long-term genetic stability for the populations. "The creation of 'Natura 2000' as a large-scale political and ecological network is certainly a considerable step forward towards protecting the diversity of species in Europe, but further measures are needed. In the next few years, the emphasis should be la
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Contact: Klaus Henle
klaus.henle@ufz.de
49-341-235-1270
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Source:Eurekalert  

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