The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action.
The Nature and Biodiversity sub-programme will aim at the protection and restoration of Europe’s nature and halting and reversing biodiversity loss. Thus, the LIFE Nature and Biodiversity sub-programme will continue to fund nature conservation projects, in particular in the areas of biodiversity, habitats and species. It will support projects that contribute to the implementation of the EU Birds and Habitats directives, and in particular the development and management of the Natura 2000 network and the IAS Regulation, and will support achieving the objectives of the EU’s biodiversity strategy for 2030, part of the EU Green Deal.
Stretching over 18% of the EU’s land area and more than 8% of its marine territory, Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. It offers a haven to Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats.
The Natura 2000 network consists of the sites of Community Importance (SCIs), identified by the Member States in accordance with the provisions of "Habitats" Directive 92/43/EEC, which are subsequently designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), and by the Special Protection Area (SPA) established pursuant to "Birds" Directive 2009/147/EC.
Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves from which all human activities would be excluded. While it includes strictly protected nature reserves, most of the land remains privately owned. The approach to conservation and sustainable use of the Natura 2000 areas is much wider, largely centered on people working with nature rather than against it. However, Member States must ensure that the sites are managed in a sustainable manner, both ecologically and economically.
The Natura 2000 Barometer provides an overview on the Natura 2000 network of sites under the Birds and the Habitats Directives, in terms of information on area and site numbers: https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/dashboards/natura-2000-barometer.
In the Veneto region there are currently 130 Natura 2000 sites, divided between two biogeographical regions (Alpine and continental), covering approximately 4120 sq km, or 22.3% of the region. In particular, there are 104 SACs that occupy 3701 sq km (a total of 41 sq km concerns sea areas even if reported within the continental biogeographical area) and 67 SPAs that extend for 3538 sq km, of which 3529 sq km terrestrial and 3.33 sq km to the sea.