Vol. 2 No. 1 (2011)
Research Article


Published 2021-10-05

How to Cite

FUENTES, Manuel Cabalar, Miguel Pazos OTÓN, Francisco José Armas QUINTÁ, and Xosé Carlos Macía ARCE. 2021. “THE NATURA 2000 NETWORK IN SPAIN AND ITS LACK OF PROTECTION”. European Journal of Geography 2 (1). https://www.eurogeojournal.eu/index.php/egj/article/view/19.


Protected Natural Areas are one of the most frequently used tools for preserving the main
natural features of a territory. Over time their focus has evolved from a prevalence of basically
aesthetic criteria (spectacular landscapes with picturesque features such as high mountains,
thickly wooded forests or rugged coastlines) to a more global vision that includes the
conservation of the diversity of habitats present in any given territory. In the case of Europe this
point of view crystallised in the setting up of the Natura 2000 Network, with the ambitious aim
of creating a continent-wide network of Protected Natural Areas that will include examples of
all the different kinds of habitat to be found in the Old World. Its implementation in Spain
means extending protected area status to approximately 28% of the territory, a significant
proportion. However, for this protection to be effective it needs to go beyond a mere legal
declaration and deploy a proper framework to ensure the active management not only of each
individual area but also of the Network as a whole. Although the Natura 2000 Network came
into being some years ago, a large proportion of the Natura 2000 Sites in Spain currently lack
any form of planning and management, making them potentially vulnerable to numerous threats
and impacts that may eventually have a serious effect on them. The purpose of this article is
thus to reveal the lack of protection afforded to these spaces, citing specific examples, and to
propose corrective measures to improve the current situation.. The region of Galicia (NW
Spain) is taken as a case in point, it being one of the self-governing regions in Spain where this
problem is most apparent.


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