Natura 2000 (an EU-wide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive) is the centerpiece of EU nature & biodiversity policy. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats.

A selection of N2K grassland-rich sites (5 grassland habitats types 6210, 6240, 6250, 6510 and 6520, including a 2km buffer and covering approx. 160.000 km2) sites was mapped in order to assess their actual area, their condition and their development over time. The sites were analysed for the 2006 and 2012 reference years and a change analysis was performed. The mapping also included a 2km buffer zone where an analysis of pressures and threats was conducted. The analysis focused on a selection of grassland (semi-natural/species rich) habitat types.

The inclusion of the remaining grassland-rich N2K sites not selected in the current exercise will be implemented in 2016 and an extension to other habitat types is also foreseen and under discussion.

POTENTIAL USE CASES Compare protected areas and natural reserves with adiacent areas – forestry, O2 levels, pollution, precipitation and temperatures

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