LIFE logoNATURA logo



The term Natura 2000 comes from the 1992 EC Habitats Directive; it symbolises the conservation of precious natural resources for the year 2000 and beyond. The Habitats Directive stems from the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. It is a major contribution by the EC to implementing the Biodiversity Convention agreed by more than 150 countries, and its implementation in Scotland is one of SNH's largest tasks. The Biodiversity Convention aims to protect the variety of wildlife which exists globally by focusing on Habitats and Species. Recognition of special areas, therefore, is a key element of local action towards the achievement of a global ideology.

The Natura 2000 network includes Special Protection Areas (SPAs), under the Wild Birds Directive, where they support significant numbers of wild birds and their habitats; and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), under the Habitats Directive, where they support rare, endangered or vulnerable natural habitats or species of plants or animals (other than birds). Some areas may become both SPA and SAC.

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are strictly protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive. Article 3 of the Habitats Directive requires the establishment of a European network of important high-quality conservation sites that will make a significant contribution to conserving the 189 habitat types and 788 species identified in Annexes I and II of the Directive (as amended). The listed habitat types and species are those considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds). Of the Annex I habitat types, 76 are believed to occur in the UK. Of the Annex II species, 43 are native to, and normally resident in, the UK.

To find out more about the selection of SAC's for salmon in the UK follow this link:

To find out more about the Mulkear LIFE project which focuses on restoration of the Lower Shannon SAC for Atlantic salmon, sea lamprey and otter, follow this link:

To top

Picture of the river Tay Picture of a river Picture of a leaping salmon