Life Claw > The project > Natura 2000

Covering more than 18% of the EU’s land area and nearly 6 percent of its marine territory, Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world.

It provides shelet for Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats.

Natura 2000 is a network of breeding and reproduction sites for rare and threatened species and some and rare natural habitat types that are protected in their own right. It spans all 27 EU countries, both on land and at sea. The goal of the network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed in both the Birds and Habitats Directives.

Natura 2000 sites have been designated specifically to protect areas that are critically important to a range of species or habitat types listed in the Habitats and Birds Directives and are considered to be of Union importance because they are endangered, vulnerable, rare, endemic, or because they are notable examples of features typical of one or more of Europe’s nine biogeographic regions. In total, areas of critical importance for some 2,000 species and 230 habitat types are to be designated as Natura 2000 sites.

Life Claw and Natura 2000

Project aims at improving the conservation status of the crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes which need urgent conservation measures, since it is listed in the annex II and V of habitat directive CEE93/43. Many Natura 2000 sites with different geographical features are involved (see intervention areas section) where restoration habitat interventions are planned.

The partnership include PNATE, PRA, EPEO which manage bodies of Natura 2000 sites, and they will facilitate the results achievements and the widespread presence of crayfish on the territory by protecting and restoring suitable environments that can sustain viable populations even after the project LIFE-CLAW. Suitable habitats for the species are in fact present in “Natura 2000” concerned sites, so much so that in many cases the crayfish are still popular.

Northwestern Italy is a hotspot for A. pallipes where high nucleotide diversity was detected and different groups overlap, so, conservation strategy for A. pallipes in Northern Italy, must take into account the complexity of the biogeographic pattern and the progressive isolation of local populations. In the project areas, according to the 2014 Natura 2000 SDFs and Specific Measures of Conservation (MSC) the species is still present in 24 out of 28 sites. An estimation of 50 A. pallipes populations is plausible, but often they are relict, appear low-density and are confined to small streams. Specific initiatives/activities dedicated both to Public Bodies expert in management of RN2000 sites and to the stakeholders (volunteering associations) that organize activities in the RN2000 sites and that can directly or indirectly interfere (positively or negatively) with the conservation condition of the crayfish populations, will be carried out.

At last, all the teachers of the schools involved in environmental education activities will be able to use the contents of the lessons and the didactic materials produced to implement the design of specific educational programs on the conservation of nature in RN2000 sites.