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Posted by: Sara King BSc (Hons) ACIEEM on 15/04/2013

A recent study has assessed the value of the Natura 2000 network, a European network of protected wildlife sites, to be €300bn a year. This is the equivalent of 2-3% of the European Union GDP. The estimated value of the site network is far higher than the current funding allocated to preserving the sites, and justifies continued or even increased funding of nature protection at the European scale.

The Natura 2000 network is a European Union network of protected wildlife sites. The sites are protected under European Legislation, the Habitats Directive, and is in accordance with the Birds Directive. Sites included within the Natura 2000 network include Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). All EU member states contribute to the network, and the UK supports several SACs and SPAs. The sites protect valuable and vulnerable habitats such as wetlands, including those which support protected species such as bats, bird populations and great crested newts.

Ecological value can be difficult to establish, and has to look a number of factors. These sites have been valued based on their ecosystem services, which considers recreational use, health benefits and provision services (such as food and fuel) resulting from these protected sites. 

This study indicates that there is increased benefit in a holistic approach to ecological enhancement and conservation. Investing resources on a network of protected sites appears to provide higher value than focusing on enhancements on the small scale site level. The study also gives a indication of the value of ecology within the global economy.    


Categories: Ecological Consulting
Tags: Great Crested Newts | Natura 2000 | Valuing Nature
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