The network of European protected areas Natura 2000 was established in May 1992 through the passing of Directive 92/43/ΕΕC, aiming to ensure the conservation of the most precious and endangered species and habitats in Europe. The establishment of this network of protected areas meets the obligation of the European Union under the Convention of the United Nations on Biodiversity.
The Natura 2000 Network is the largest network of protected regions in the world. It extends over nine terrestrial and five marine biogeographical zones. Today, the network protects more than 26,000 regions in the 27 member States of the European Union, covering approximately 80,000 sq.km. or 18% of the total surface of the European Union. Marine areas cover today approximately 217,000 sq.km.
The creation of the Natura 2000 Network was based on two European directives: the Directive on Birds (79/409/ΕEC), which provided for the installation of Special Protection Areas for birds (SPAs) and the Directive on the habitats (92/43/ΕΕC), providing for the demarcation of Sites of Community Importance (SCI) for habitats and species –besides birds– which are now called Special Areas for Conservation (SAC). The Special Protection Areas for birds along with the Special Areas for Conservation form the Natura 2000 Network.
The choice of the regions integrated in the Natura 2000 Network is made by member states, based on the procedure envisaged by the Directive on Habitats, in collaboration with and under the supervision of the European Commission. Follow this, member states undertake the obligation to adequately manage and protect these regions.
The Axios Delta in the Natura 2000 Network
The responsibility area of the Management Body of the Axios – Loudias – Aliakmon Delta includes three regions of the Natura 2000 Network:
- The Special Area for Conservation of the DELTA OF THE AXIOS-LOUDIAS-ALIAKMON-BROADER REGION OF AXIOUPOLI (GR1220002, surface of 33,676.3 hectares).
- The Special Protection Area for avifauna of the DELTA OF THE AXIOS-LOUDIAS-ALIAKMON-ALYKES KITROUS (GR1220010 surface of 29,551 hectares).
- The Special Area for Conservation ALYKES KITROUS – BROADER REGION (GR1250004 surface of 1,440.5 hectares).