‘Species of Community interest’: but which Community?

by Tibor Hartel

The delineation of Natura 2000 sites is a condition for the adherence to the European Union (EU). These sites are delineated based on lists of species and habitats from the Habitats Directive. These species and habitats are called ‘…of Community interest’ and are strictly protected.

Romania and other Eastern European countries joined the EU, and this sharply increased the Natura 2000 sites (both in number and cover) at country level. To use a terminology which is often used in the country, a number of Natura 2000 sites were ‘declared’ based on lists of species and habitats of Community interest. And now armies of scientists research the natural systems to identify species and habitats of Community interest in order to develop a scientifically sound management plan for them.

It looks a bit funny and ironic, but it seems that in the traditional social-ecological systems people are not interested in species and habitats of Community interest. In fact, in most of cases they are not even consulted properly about this, and don’t even know why these should be ‘of interest’ for them.

Traditional agriculture is good for biodiversity therefore make a region attractive for conservation.

Therefore the question rise: of which Community interests are the species and habitats of Community interest?

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One thought on “‘Species of Community interest’: but which Community?

  1. Tibi, that’s so true! Thanks for bringing that up. Actually the site designation process within Natura 2000 ist yet another example of how to discourage people even more from engaging with (EU) politics. The goal behind Natura is great, but why on Earth should people start to protect nature or become interested if they haven’t been involved in the process. How much sense does it make if nature is being forcefully preserved while the Communty/ social system falls apart at the same time?

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