Climate Change: Rethinking Restoration in the European Union’s Birds and Habitats Directives
Ecological Restoration, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 431-439, 2010
17 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2011 Last revised: 23 Feb 2011
Date Written: August 15, 2010
To prepare for the ecological impacts of climate change, a landscape approach is needed in which existing protected areas are enlarged and secured and ecological corridors between areas are protected and restored, thus establishing a real ecological network that is resilient to future change. This article reviews the EU Birds and Habitats Directives and shows that restoration is a central objective of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas created by the directives, at least where intense human activity and development is taking place within or nearby Natura 2000 sites. However, the current legal provisions fall short of meeting the requirements necessary to help biodiversity adapt to climate change. The good news is that these shortcomings do not hinder government authorities that want to take action. The bad news is that this will always be on a voluntary basis. The article recommends a few small amendments to the Natura 2000 scheme that would require member states to develop robust restoration plans that will help nature adapt to a changing climate.
Keywords: Birds Directive, climate change, adaptation, European Union environmental policy, Habitats Directive, Natura 2000
JEL Classification: K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation