The term biodiversity (biological diversity) describes the entire spectrum of life on earth: the diversity of all naturally existing species, bred animal and plant species, microorganisms and fungi, as well as the genetic variety within each species. The term biodiversity comprises also the diversity of habitats with their complex ecological processes and interconnections. In 1992 the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was established with currently 190 member states.
Natura2000 is a net of protected areas in Europe, consisting out of Fauna-Flora-habitats areas and bird protected areas. These areas are representative for typical, special and rare habitats and animal and plant species in Europe. The obligation is to take certain measurements in these sites to insure a long termed protection. The member states selected these areas themselves respecting the criteria of the bird directive from 1979 and the fauna-Flora habitat directive from 1992. Today the Europe-wide net of protected sites is well established and can be seen on the Natura2000 Map Viewer.
The Natura2000 sites form a coherent net supporting the interactions and the complex ecological processes of species, populations and habitats. Especially exchange, migration and expansion movements of populations are fostered. The knowledge about the distribution of protected species is especially indispensable while studying their status under climate change.
Further information about Natura200 can be obtained under the following addresses:
The working group Natura2000/biodiversity meets since 2002 twice a year in order to exchange ideas and experiences between the administrations involved in Natura2000. The international Natura2000 strategy of the European Union has to be implemented in the regions and across borders, whereby the connected natural areas are of importance (biogeographical regions) not the states or countries as such. The great region reaching over the boarders of France, Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg, is a model region for trans border collaboration regarding biodiversity. The working group raises also the awareness of the general public towards this project, e.g. in 2008 a map has been produced in collaboration with DREAL Lothringen, which presents the Natura2000sites of the Great Region. A Table of Habitats and Species has been produced, as well as a table of Natura2000 implementation methods in the Greater Region.
More recently, the partners of the Great Region work on a data portal showing the distribution of the protected species within the Great Region (Bio-GR). This portal allows a concerted evaluation of the species across borders. The Data portal will be the base for the development of a habitat network within the Great Region.