The Natura 2000 network is nowadays the largest network of protected areas in Europe. It is designated with the aim to protect the most valuables habitats and species in Europe. In Serbia, this network is designated and managed by the Ministry of Environment Protection in collaboration with Institutes for Nature conservation in Serbia.
The Natura 2000 network consists of the Sites of Community Interest (SCI), identified by the Member States in accordance with the Habitats Directive, which are subsequently designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), and also includes Special Protection Areas (SPAs) established according to the Birds Directive concerning the conservation of wild birds.
This network are not strictly protected reserves where human activities are excluded; the Habitats Directive intends to guarantee the protection of nature also considering „economic, social and cultural needs, as well as regional and local particularities“ (Art. 2). Private entities can own Natura 2000 sites, ensuring their sustainable management both from an ecological and an economic point of view.
Today, 26.918 sites are part of this network covering 1.204.987Km2 through the current 27 Members States.
The Republic of Serbia is working on the preparation of the Natura 2000 network, transposing the Birds and Habitats Directives and preparing all the requirements for the establishment and future management of this network.