The Natura 2000 is a network of areas of natural habitats (e.g. saltmarshes) or where certain plant or animal species are distributed. Those habitats and species have been declared of "community importance" and need protection at the European level.
It is by no means a network of limitations but a network where protection of nature and human development co-exist..
Within the 27 Member States of the European Union, the Natura 2000 network includes almost 26.000 sites, 446 of them in Greece. There are two categories of such sites:
- «Special Protected Areas -SPAs» for birds, as designated under the Birds Directive 2009/147/EC, and
- «Special Areas of Conservation - SACs» as designated under the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC
Those two categories may have overlaps. After the finalization of the catalog of the Natura 2000 areas, the Member states are obliged to declare them as Sites of Community Importance (SCIs).
Within the Prefecture of the North Aegean, there are 12 SACs, 4 of them on Lesvos:
- GR4110003- Lesvos: Western peninsula – Petrified Forest
- GR4110004- Lesvos: Kalloni Gulf and coastal zone
- GR4110005- Lesvos: Gera Gulf, Ntipi-Larsos marsh and Olympus mount- Evergetoulas River
- GR4110015- Sea area of Tokmakia islets
And 12 SPAs for birds, 7 of them on Lesvos:
- GR4110007- Lesvos: coastal wetlands of the Kalloni Gulf
- GR4110009- Lesvos islets (Tomaronisia, Kodons, Agios Georgios,Glaronisi, etc.) and surrounding sea area
- GR4110010- NW peninsula, Lesvos Petrified Forest
- GR4110011- Mount Olympus of Lesvos
- GR4110012- Northern Lesvos
- GR4110013- Lesvos: Gera Gulf, Ntipi and Charamida marshes
- GR4110016- Sea area of Western Lesvos