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Green infrastructure

N2K and GICEEweb for Biodiversity has been an active advocate of Green Infrastructure. On the GI Knowledge Hub the Conservation Section details many examples of habitat protection. So that the Agriculture Section – many of the habitats in question are Natura 2000 sites.

What is GI and how does it relate to Natura 2000?

“Green Infrastructure is a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services. It incorporates green spaces (or blue if aquatic ecosystems are considered) and other physical features in terrestrial (including coastal) and marine areas. GI is present in rural and urban settings” (European Commission 2013). So is Natura 2000. Both Green Infrastructure and Natura 2000 are holistic tools to tackle habitat loss while contributing to smart and sustainable socio-economic growth. They provide us with solutions for a better quality environment, a healthier society and a more prosperous economy. Both GI and Natura 2000 help us preserve and enhance ecosystem services and adapt to climate change in multi-stakeholder settings.

Green Infrastructure:

  • Helps to maintain spatial connectivity between Natura 2000 sites and implement Article 10 of the Habitats Directive.
  • Helps to explain the economic value of nature and services generated by the Natura 2000 Network to other sectors
  • Helps to protect biodiversity in a wider landscape, outside of the Natura 2000 Network and thus achieve  Favourable Conservation Status.

Natura 2000:

  • Constitutes Green Infrastructure
  • Is well established and provides a strong legal framework
  • Natura 2000 measures are GI measures (e.g. establishing field margins and hedges, restoring floodplains)
  • Natura 2000 best practice guidance contain a number of GI examples
  • Many Art 6.3. mitigation or Art.6.4. compensation measures provide GI


  • Natura 2000 is the backbone of GI
  • Natura 2000 sites are critical “space for nature”
  • GI enhances connectivity between Natura 2000 sites
  • GI helps achieving FCS
  • GI helps integration of Natura 2000 into other policies
  • GI provides additional funding to Natura 2000
  • Natura 2000 management provides GI
  • For example, Natura 2000 provides natural solutions for mitigating and adapting to climate change
  • Many Natura 2000 sites can serve as laboratory for GI investments and activities
  • GI and Natura 2000 are mutually supportive!!!

More information: Presentation on Green Infrastructure and Natura 2000 by Stefan Leiner, CEEweb Academy 2014.