The Natura 2000 Network is an initiative of the European Union to create a network of natural spaces that guarantees the biodiversity by means of the conservation of the habitats and the species of wild fauna and flora, within the frame of a sustainable development. The Network is formed by two types of different sites: Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) established in agreement with the Directive Habitat of the European Union, and Special Protection Areas (for Birds) (SPA), established from the Directive Birds. In the case of the Spanish state the Autonomous Communities have the responsibility to design and manage SACs and SPAs.

From beginnings of the month of March the resolution of the Government of the Generalitat on the designation of the areas included in the Natura 2000 Network can be found in the Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya number 4337. This proposal arrives with more from a year of delay, reason by which the European Union sanctioned the Government of Catalonia. Its appearance has not been very well received, peculiarly nor on the part of the agrarian sector that thinks that it can interfere with the agricultural and cattle activities, nor either from the naturalistic and ecological world that considers a proposal of minimums.

The refusal that usually arouses the Natura 2000 Network in the rural world, specially in determined regions of Lleida province, is product of a deficient informative strategy on the part of the responsible administrations to explain the project to the citizenship. That causes the existence of a total ignorance of the possibilities that offers this legal figure. The inclusion of an area in the Natura 2000 Network does not suppose the loss of the ownership of the lands and in many cases promotes agrarian, cattle, forest activities and a regulated hunting practice. In addition it allows to obtain diverse financing funds of the European Union to make compatible the conservation of the biodiversity with a sustainable rural development, beneficial for the population. These positive aspects have been demonstrated in other Autonomous Communities where for years plans of management and development in spaces SAC or SPA have been applied. For more general information on the Natura 2000 Network and real examples of its application in the management you can consult the Web

The distribution area of the Bonelli’s Eagle, as specially threatened species in the European Union, has been one of the main parameters used at the time of designating the SPAs of the scope of the Mediterranean habitats of Catalonia. From the Equip de Biologia de la Conservació – Áliga Perdiguera we have detected important deficits in the SPAs designated, as much in the document approved by the Executive Council as in the new proposal of extension. In which it concerns the Bonelli’s eagle, the proposed SPAs has been limited to include the protected areas already existing, including of peripheral way the nests, but leaving outside most of its hunting areas. That causes that rarely sufficient space of its territories is included to guarantee that the conservation of the eagles is absolutely viable.

From three years ago the Equip de Biologia de la Conservació – Ŕliga Perdiguera is making the radiotracking of several pairs of Bonelli’s eagle in the provinces of Barcelona and Tarragona. The collected data have allowed to obtain much information about the extension of the territories, the areas and types of habitats that the eagles select. This information has been given to the administrations to be used for the conservation of the eagles. Unfortunately it has been possible to verify that has not been considered in the delimitation of the SPAs for the Natura 2000 Network.

For more information on the proposal of Catalonia’s Natura 2000 Network you can consult the following Webs:

The maps that can be unloaded indicate the spaces of extension and modification but the SPAs approved last March are not included (Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya 4337). Anybody who wants to present allegations still has time until the 25th of April.