Natura 2000

Natura 2000

E cological Network is a system of interconnected or spatially close ecologically important areas that with their balanced biogeographical spread considerably contribute to the preservation of natural balance and biodiversity. The network was proclaimed by the Ecological Network Directive adopted on 26 September 2013 and it marked the alignment of the areas of the former national ecological network with the areas of Natura 2000, the largest network of protected areas in Europe.


Significant areas are as follows:

  • Areas that are biologically highly diverse or well preserved and are internationally important according to the criteria of international treaties to which Croatia is a party;
  • Areas that significantly contribute to the preservation of biological and landscape diversity in the Republic of Croatia;
  • Areas of habitat types threatened at the global, European and national level;
  • Habitats of wildlife species threatened at the global, European and national level;
  • Habitats of endemic species in the Republic of Croatia;
  • Areas that contribute to the genetic connectedness of the populations (ecological corridors);
  • Migratory routes of animals;
  • Preserved forest units.

The parts of the ecological network are connected with natural or artificial ecological corridors. An ecological corridor is an ecological component, or a series of such components, that allows movement of living organisms from one area to another. It should be pointed out that the actions that can lead to destruction or another considerable or permanent damage to an ecologically important area are not permitted. The State Institute for Nature Protection keeps a register of ecosystems and monitors the condition and vulnerability of habitats. 



Ecological Network

Ecological Network

T he ecological network includes areas in Croatia based on the expert criteria and the available data not older than 50 years, identified as areas important for preserving or restoring a favourable status of endangered and rare habitat types and/or wild species at the European and national level.


The habitat types and wild species threatened in Europe are regulated by two EU Directives (Birds Directive and Habitats Directive) as well as by the Berne Convention.


The area of the ecological network is selected based on the expert criteria for the selection of areas for every natural habitat type and wild species whose preservation is important to the European Union and the Republic of Croatia and they are as follows:



  • A. Criteria for selecting areas for the preservation of natural habitats

    a) Degree of representativity of a habitat type in the ecological network;

    b) Surface area of the habitat type in the ecological network in relation to the total surface area of this habitat type in the entire country;

    c) Degree of preservation of the structure and functions of the habitat type of natural habitat and restoration possibilities;

    d) Global assessment of the value of the ecological network area for the preservation of the habitat type.

  • B. Criteria for selecting areas for the preservation of wild species, except birds

    a) Size and density of the population of the species present in the area of the ecological network in relation to the population present throughout the country;

    b) Degree of preservation of habitat features that are important for the species and restoration possibilities;

    c) Degree of isolation of the population present in the area of the ecological network in relation to the natural spread of the species;

    d) Global assessment of the value of the ecological network for the preservation of the species.

  • C. Criteria for selecting areas for the preservation of wild birds.

    Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) criteria. The function of the BirdLife Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) Programme is to identify, protect and manage a network of sites that are significant for the long-term viability of naturally occurring bird populations, across the geographical range of those bird species for which a site-based approach is appropriate.

    The selection of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) is achieved through the application of quantitative ornithological criteria, grounded in up-to-date knowledge of the sizes and trends of bird populations. The criteria ensure that the sites selected as IBAs have true significance for the international conservation of bird populations, and provide a common currency that all IBAs adhere to, thus creating consistency among, and enabling comparability between, sites at national, continental and global levels.