Scientific analysis of the status of designated Natura 2000 areas and the protection of nitrogen-sensitive species and habitats.

Published online
18 Jul 2018
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Schmidt, A. M. & Smidt, R. A.

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The designation of Natura 2000 sites in the Netherlands took longer than expected. At present, 159 of 160 identified sites have been designated as Natura 2000 sites, and their management plans are currently being developed. About 60% of the land area in the Netherlands is used for agriculture, which puts significant pressure on the Natura 2000 network, particularly in terms of nitrogen inputs. The Dutch Integrated Approach to Nitrogen (PAS) aims to meet conservation objectives while facilitating economic development around the Natura 2000 sites within district environmental limits. Nitrogen-sensitive Natura 2000 sites (118 of the 160) were identified by the presence of the nitrogen-sensitive habitats of species or habitat types (Annex I of the Habitats Directive). The critical load of nitrogen input (combined NHy and NOx) was calculated for each area based on the abiotic nutrient requirements of these habitats. For the purpose of the PAS, a specific monitoring programme is being developed.

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