On 21 May we celebrate European Natura 2000 Day. This day marks the creation, 31 years ago, of what is now the world’s largest network of protected areas. It offers a haven to Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats.
Natura 2000 covers 27 000 sites, totalling no less than 1 215 000 km² across 27 EU Member States. This represents 18% of the EU territory on land – about the equivalent of Spain and France put together – and 9% of EU seas.
Nature protection and restoration is more important than ever. Our environment continues to be under huge threat. 81% of protected habitats, 39% of protected birds and 63% of other protected species are in poor or bad state. But protecting nature doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy it: to the contrary! The positive impact of nature on our physical and mental wellbeing is well documented.
That’s why for this edition of Natura 2000 day, we invite you to go out there and explore the beautiful nature around you. And we will help you get the best experience and enjoy your outing to the fullest.
Take part in our first-ever Natura 2000 BioBlitz!
Together with Observations.org, we have set up 18 BioBlitzes in Natura 2000 areas all over Europe! A BioBlitz is a fun challenge in which you are asked to go to a specific area and scan as many different species as possible, using the free Obsidentify app.
Taking part is very easy. Just go to a Natura 2000 BioBlitz near you, download the app and start searching!
Discover protected nature with our Natura 2000 viewer!
With our brand-new Natura 2000 viewer, you can check out all Natura 2000 areas and discover which protected species and habitats you could encounter. You can explore on the map or search for a specific site or location. Or use the search function to check out where in Europe Natura 2000 helps protect your favourite species or habitat!
Spread the word!
Just a last request
Nature protection is important, and everyone can contribute. There are many ways how, but the essence is simple: just think of our planet as the wedding gift for your best friend, the inheritance for your children, the home you have spent all your savings on. Treat it carefully, with respect, and enjoy!
Want to know more? Check out what the EU is doing for biodiversity, and especially how we can restore nature and integrate it into our cities, farms, businesses… Because we shouldn’t lock away nature, we should bring it back into our daily lives!
- Publication date
- 16 May 2023
- Directorate-General for Environment