The Natura 2000 network in Normandy comprises 94 sites. It covers more than 7% of the region’s land and 7 750 km2 of sea area. However, the network is not very well known in the region, and the general public remains largely unaware of what type of actions have been implemented in Normandy’s Natura 2000 sites.
The Regional Directorate for the Environment, Planning and Housing of Normandy (DREAL Normandy) initiated a novel way of promoting the network to reach a broad audience, from the public to stakeholders directly involved in the sites’ management. Rather than producing a report or a catalogue of activities, DREAL Normandy published two retrospectives which featured a representative selection of activities carried out in Normandy’s Natura 2000 network, one for 2019 and another for 2020.
Laid out in a calendar format and aiming to present the vitality of the Natura 2000 network in an accessible form, the publications featured three to four articles per month about major activities carried out throughout the year by different partners including DREAL, national authorities in the area, and Natura 2000 site managers. For example, they showcased emblematic species such as otters, yellow-bellied toads and bats, as well as environmental restoration actions taken to combat invasive species. They also provided a valuable opportunity to raise awareness about the functioning of ecosystems, habitat mapping and inventories.
The retrospectives are both available on the DREAL website, and the 2019 edition was also printed and distributed at events and meetings with stakeholders. It is planned to produce a similar retrospective to cover 2021.
The publications generated interest across several audiences, and the articles created opportunities for experience exchange between different stakeholders and networking between Natura 2000 sites managers. The retrospectives also promoted a common image of the Normandy Natura 2000 network and provide an impetus for future action.