Species in the EU Habitats and Bird Directives

CURRENT

Report on the state of nature in the EU - The European Environment Agency (EEA.

Habitats Directive

The Habitats Directive covers species and habitats of Community interest, found within the European Union. Conservation status is the Directive's key concept. The objective of the Directive is to ensure the restoration or maintenance of said species at a favourable conservation status.

Muurahaissinisiipi (CR) luontodir liitteen IV laji_p.jpg
The Large blue (Glaucopsyche arion) is critically endangered (CR) and protected in the EU Habitats Direktive. © Tuomas Lahti.

The conservation status is favourable if the species is maintaining itself on a long-term basis as a viable component of its natural habitats. In order to attain a favourable conservation status, the natural range of the species must be sufficient and must not be reduced; i.e. the condition of the population enables its long-term preservation and it has a sufficiently large habitat.

Conservation methods include the protection of habitats, managing the exploitation of the species, or a strict protection system which prohibits all forms of destruction, collection, capture, keeping, selling, etc., of the species in question.

Species annexes

Species of Community interest are listed in one or several species annexes of the Directive. The species annexes specify the species-specific protection measures required of Member States. Annexes II, IV and V include a total of 139 species, subspecies or groups of species found in Finland (situation in 2012). Most of these have established themselves in Finland and reproduce here. Some are occasional visitors and it is currently unclear whether others are establishing themselves here and how.

  • Annex II of the Habitats Directive: animal and plant species of Community interest whose conservation requires the designation of special areas of conservation (Natura 2000 site network). The annex lists 103 species found in Finland. Finland has been granted a restriction for ten of these species (fish and game mammals). In other words, Finland has no need to establish Natura 2000 sites for their protection. Some species listed in the annex are designated as priority species. Eleven of them live in Finland.
  • Annex IV of the Habitats Directive: animal and plant species, subspecies and groups of species of Community interest and in need of strict protection. Deliberate killing, capture, collection and disturbance (particularly during nesting) and commercial use of these animals are prohibited. Causing damage to or destroying the reproduction and resting sites of these species is also prohibited. It is possible to apply for a derogation from this prohibition. The annex lists 80 species found in Finland. Finland has been granted a restriction for the European beaver and the wolf in the reindeer herding area.
  • Annex V of the Habitats Directive: animal and plant species of Community interest whose taking in the wild and exploitation may be subject to management measures. The annex lists 21 species found in Finland. Finland has a restriction for the wolf in areas south of the reindeer herding area.
  • Species in the Habitats Directive (pdf)
  • Reference lists: The obligations laid down in Annex II have been specified in what are termed reference lists, compiled in bilateral negotiations between the EU and each Member State. They include lists of the Annex II species for which the country in question must establish Natura 2000 sites. Finland is obliged to set up Natura 2000 sites for 85 of the 103 Finnish species listed in Annex II. There is no need to establish sites for species which visit Finland only occasionally. A separate list has been compiled for each           biogeographical region. These lists are available on the European Environment Agency's website (link below) under Reference Lists (SCI).
  • Building the Natura 2000 network

Biogeographical regions

The EU is divided into nine biogeographical regions. Finland belongs to two of them: the Alpine (Northern Lapland) and the Boreal biogeographical regions (other areas). The conservation status of species is evaluated separately in each biogeographical region. The Alpine region has 35 and the Boreal region 126 species. In addition, sea areas are evaluated separately, by observing certain selected marine species. Finland has only three marine mammals in this group.

Birds Directive

The Birds Directive concerns the conservation of all species of naturally occurring birds in the European Union. It covers the protection, management and control of these species and their habitats, and lays down rules for their exploitation. Protection applies to birds, their eggs, nests and habitats.  A total of 256 naturally occurring birds referred to in the Directive can be found in Finland (situation in 2012).

Annexes of the Birds Directive

The Annexes of the Birds Directive specify the measures and regulation required of Member States. National regulations may be stricter than the Directive.

  • Annex I of the Birds Directive: species of Community interest whose conservation requires the designation of special areas of conservation (Natura 2000 site network). A similar obligation applies to frequently encountered migratory birds, particularly in wetlands. A total of 110 Annex I species and corresponding migratory birds can be found in Finland. Natura 2000 sites have been established for their protection.
  • Annex II/1 of the Birds Directive: species which may be hunted throughout the European Union. The Annex lists 24 species, 21 of which are encountered in Finland.
  • Annex II/2 of the Birds Directive: species which, according to the Birds Directive, may only be hunted in the Member States in respect of which they are indicated in the Directive.  A total of 18 of these species are encountered in Finland.
  • Annex III/1 of the Birds Directive: species which may be sold, provided that the birds have been legally acquired.  The Annex lists 7 species, 4 of which are encountered in Finland.
  • Annex III/2 of the Birds Directive: the Member State may grant exemptions from the prohibition on selling these species The Annex lists 19 species, 18 of which are encountered in Finland.
  • Annex IV of the Birds Directive: prohibited capture methods and devices
  • Annex V of the Birds Directive: matters of which specific account shall be taken in research and protection.

Further information

Legal Adviser Heikki Korpelainen, Ministry of the Environment, Tel. +358 50 3740 247, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

Published 2013-11-27 at 15:36, updated 2019-01-07 at 13:42