The Natura 2000 network is an ecological network that is present throughout the territory of the European Union, established under the Habitats and Birds Directive, to ensure the conservation of natural habitats of rare or endangered species at a Community level.
The Natura 2000 network is therefore one of the EU's key instruments for the preservation of biodiversity. The network is comprised of Sites of Community Interest (SCI ), which in turn are appointed by the Member States as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC ) under the Habitats Directive 92/43 / EEC , or Special Protection Areas ( SPAs) identified under the Birds Directive 2009/147 / EC .
In the Natura 2000 network are included, together with wild areas, also semi-natural environments, namely those transformed by man through the practice of traditional activities such as non-intensive agriculture or grazing.
Up to date, the entire Natura 2000 network is composed of about 26,000 sites throughout the United States, with a total area of more than 750,000 km2, equal to the 18% of the territory. It is the largest network of protected areas in the world .
In Italy, the SIC, SACs and SPAs in total cover about 19% of the national land area and nearly 4% of the marine environment.
The geographical position and the peculiarities of its territory make Calabria a wealth of biodiversity among the richest of the peninsula. Among marine and land sites, there have been established 184 Natura 2000 sites, including 6 ZPS and 178 SIC representing the 19% of the regional territory.
The Area of the Natura 2000 Network of Calabria is composed of 178 SCI for a total area of 90,649.38 hectares of which the land portion is 70447.03 and the marine portion is of 20202.35 and from 6 SPAs with a total area of 262255,00 hectares.
SCI areas included within the perimeters of the SPAs are 74 for an area of 28,825 hectares. There are 69 habitats present in Calabria, on the basis of classifications identified in Annex I according to the Directive 92/43 / EEC, including 20 with priority and 49 with non-priority.