The European Birds and Habitats Directives – jointly referred to as the Nature Directives (ND) – are central regulatory instruments to achieve the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy's targets on protecting and restoring nature. The Fitness Check evaluation by the European Commission has concluded that while the ND remain highly relevant, their implementation needs to be improved to successfully achieve sought objectives. The project "Evidence‐based improvements in the Birds and Habitats Directives (BHD) implementation: a systematic review (E-BIND)" responds to this need by gathering evidence and developing recommendations for key stakeholders on how to better use scientific knowledge and networks to more effectively implement the Directives.
The European Nature Directives provide a comprehensive legal protection regime for species that are rare and threatened and habitats of value across the EU. In 2016, the Commission concluded a comprehensive evaluation of the Directives – a so-called 'Fitness Check' – and highlighted that while both are still fit for purpose, improvements are needed regarding effectiveness and efficiency and in working in partnership with different stakeholder communities in the Member States and across EU in order to deliver practical results on the ground. Amongst the key factors identified underlying these shortcomings were insufficient knowledge and access to data, along with poor stakeholder involvement.
Objectives and approach
The core objective of E-BIND is to advise the Commission, Member State authorities and other key stakeholders on the better use of scientific knowledge and scientific networks in supporting more effective implementation of the Nature Directives. The project team conducted a review of existing evidence and presents findings at the science-policy interface to reach policy makers involved in Natura 2000 sites and annex-listed species' management, local practitioners and scientists from different communities.
Project results are summarised in an online handbook, designed in a user-friendly, interactive PDF landscape format. Information, insights and lessons learned through the project’s research activities are synthesised for target stakeholder groups, including e.g. national authorities, Natura 2000 knowledge and data-providers, scientific networks/community, practitioners, site managers, private sector, etc. The handbook also includes recommendations to foster an improved use of existing information and databases, stimulate increased coherence, cost-effectiveness and quality of data use and methodologies, and generate solutions for addressing persistent knowledge gaps.
The handbook is focused on two main areas: A) Better availability of data, information and knowledge on habitat, species and sites (monitoring, remote sensing, data access), and B) Scientific support for successful implementation of Natura 2000 policy (effectiveness of restoration measures, green infrastructure and network coherence, and ecosystem services).
Ecologic Institute in E-BIND
Ecologic Institute led the development of online handbooks designed to support an array of actors in improving their implementation of the Nature Directives. Information, insights and lessons learned through the project’s research activities were synthesised for target stakeholder groups, including e.g. Natura 2000 knowledge and data-providers, scientific networks/community, practitioners, site managers, private sector, etc. The handbooks also include recommendations to foster an improved use of existing information and databases, stimulate increased coherence, cost-effectiveness and quality of data use and methodologies, and generate solutions for addressing persistent knowledge gaps.