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|EU biodiversity policy context for the conservation of estuaries and dunes|
|O'Briain, M. (2005). EU biodiversity policy context for the conservation of estuaries and dunes, in: Herrier, J.-L. et al. (Ed.) (2005). Proceedings 'Dunes and Estuaries 2005': International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005. VLIZ Special Publication, 19: pp. 7-12|
|In: Herrier, J.-L. et al. (Ed.) (2005). Proceedings 'Dunes and Estuaries 2005': International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005. VLIZ Special Publication, 19. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. XIV, 685 pp., more|
|In: VLIZ Special Publication. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISSN 1377-0950, more|
Europe’s estuaries and sand dune systems have suffered serious losses and degradation over the past century due to land and water use changes and coastal development pressures. EU biodiversity policy aims to halt the loss of these and other habitats of European conservation concern by 2010. The main legal instrument to achieve this is Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitat and of wild fauna and flora, commonly known as the Habitats Directive. This identifies estuaries and different types of sand dunes as habitat types of Community importance. The designation and management of Special Areas of Conservation is the key mechanism under the directive to achieve the favourable conservation status of these habitat types. The focus of action has initially been on establishing this network of sites, using commonly agreed habitat definitions and site selection criteria, with a view to ensuring sufficient representation of estuaries and sand dunes in the NATURA 2000 network. This process is advanced and lists of sites for different Biogeographical Regions covered by the Habitats Directive are being established. Increasingly, the focus is on putting in place effective management and monitoring systems. There is already a considerable amount of experience on management and restoration of sand dunes and estuaries in the EU, especially from projects supported under the LIFE programme. The European Commission has proposed that EU rural and regional development funds be used to co-finance management measures for the NATURA 2000 network. New monitoring arrangements should also provide a unified source of information at the EU scale on estuaries and sand dunes. There will be a need to address other threats to these habitat types in Europe, especially the predicted negative effects of climate change, in the context of the wider debate on EU biodiversity policy.