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Natura 2000 Network is a European network of natural protected areas which includes a representative sample of wild species and natural habitats of community interest. It was established not only for protecting nature but also for preserving these natural riches on the long term, to ensure the necessary resources for socio-economic development.
Since 1992 the European Union has promoted the development of Natura 2000 network of nature conservation areas as a main instrument, to cover EU countries as well as candidate countries; the network had been originally planned to be designated by year 2000. The Natura 2000 network is based on two European Union Directives, Habitats Directive and Birds Directive , which regulate site selection and designation and their protection, while Member States are entitled to regulate the methods for practical achievement and implementation of the Directives’ provisions.
Following EU accession these two directives were transposed in Romanian legislation by Emergency Ordinance no. 57 of 20 June 2007 on the regime of natural protected areas, conservation of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna, further consolidated.
Natura 2000 is an ecological network consisting of two types of Natura 2000 sites: Special Areas of Conservation (SAC ) created according to the Habitats Directive and Special Protection Areas (SPA), created according to the Birds Directive.
These sites are identified and declared on scientific grounds (according to the procedures of the two Directives) in order to preserve in a favourable conservation status a representative surface of the main types of habitats (listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive) and representative populations of species in Europe (listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive and in Annex I of the Birds Directive).
IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
When defining such sites the idea was NOT to institute a strict protection which would ban human activity. On the contrary, it was considered that in a large number of cases human activities related to natural resource management may continue. In many cases the presence of habitats and species in the Natura 2000 network is mainly a result of the way how forests, pastures and meadows have been managed sustainably for hundreds of years.