Research output: Book/Report › Reports of Research Institute for Nature and Forest
|Publisher||Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek|
|Number of pages||246|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|
|Name||Rapporten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek|
|Publisher||Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek: Brussel|
The Habitat and Bird Directives are the cornerstones of Europe’s nature conservation policy, which is built around two pillars: the Natura 2000 network of protected sites on the one hand and a strict system of species protection on the other. For each protection site, member states have to define conservation objectives by 2010 that pursue a favourable conservation status for all enlisted habitat types and species. To meet this obligation, Flanders has decided to draw up regional conservation objectives first and to translate them into objectives at the level of the individual site afterwards. The latter sites comprise both the Special Areas of Conservation (SAC’s) and the Special Protection Areas (SPA’s), designated as part of the Habitat and Bird Directives.
This report supplies a series of criteria and indicators to define the favourable conservation status for 57 species that are present in Flanders. These include 31 species of annex I of the Bird Directive and 28 species that meet the so-called 1% criterium for waterbirds. By means of these indicators, actual population status and habitat quality can be tested against wellconsidered threshold values that define the favourable conservation status. The choice of the indicators and their threshold values used in the evaluation tables of this report is based on their capacity to cover the species’ ecology in an objective (i.e. based on national and international literature), unambiguous, practical, measurable and comprehensive way. Their relevance for the Flemish situation was taken into account as well.
This report is meant as an instrument to evaluate the local conservation status of the species in the protected sites. Once this evaluation is done, the next step will be to define conservation objectives for each site, taking into account the objectives that have already been set out at the regional level (see draft report of the regional conservation objectives). These local objectives can then be converted into practical conservation measures needed to restore, reinforce and conserve local populations. This report is well-suited to assist in this process too due to the practical nature of the indicators. Moreover, the text provides some guidelines with regard to a monitoring methodology. Indeed, each member state is obliged to report on the development of the conservation status every six years. A thorough monitoring network will therefore be indispensable.
In conclusion, this report is a vital link in the long process that will finally lead to a valuable network of nature protection areas in Flanders and Europe, in which species can live in sustainable populations.