LIFE Project Cover Photo

Managing the NATURA 2000 network in Cyprus and Shaping a sustainable future

Reference: LIFE18 IPE/CY/000006 | Acronym: LIFE IP Physis



Cyprus is among the top five EU countries in terms of land area covered by the Natura 2000 network (28.8%). The Natura 2000 network in Cyprus includes 63 marine and terrestrial sites, covering 1 789 km2. Cyprus hosts 48 habitat types included in Annex I of the Habitats Directive, 13 of which constitute priority habitats. A large proportion (60%) of the Natura 2000 area is located within State Forest Land, with 26 sites hosting significant forest areas and over 15% of the sites surface covered by Annex I forest habitat types. In terms of species conservation, Cyprus hosts 38 Annex II species (14 priority). In total, there are 58 Annex II, IV and V Habitats Directive species (21 mammals, 13 reptiles, 3 amphibians, 2 arthropods, 1 fish, and 18 plants). Cyprus also hosts 129 Annex I Birds Directive species.

Currently, knowledge gaps exist regarding both the protected habitats and species of Cyprus. The formulation of Species Actions Plans will improve their conservation status. Moreover, Management Plans for all Natura 2000 sites have been drafted. However, a significant number were completed at the very early stages of the networks establishment and an update is necessary. Conservation objectives were set for all 29 designated SACs. Management plans have also been prepared for all 30 SPAs, setting Favourable Reference Values (FRVs) for targeted bird species in each site. Four governmental departments are responsible for the management of the Natura 2000 network. Therefore, there is a great need for intensive and effective coordination in order to achieve the national conservation objectives. Furthermore, land users, owners, local population and other stakeholders have demonstrated a very low acceptance of the Natura 2000 network. It is, thus, necessary to effectively mobilise, engage and directly involve those stakeholders to change this situation.


The primary objective of LIFE IP PHYSIS is to achieve and/or maintain a favourable conservation status for species and habitat types of community importance in Cyprus, through actions in the whole Natura 2000 network. This will mainly be possible through the implementation of the Prioritised Action Framework (PAF) for Natura 2000 in Cyprus for the Multiannual Financing Period 2014-2020, as well as the fulfilment of several targets of the EUs 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. The project's approach is to catalyse financial support from complementary funds and to ensure synergies between policy sectors for the purpose of Natura 2000 protection.

The IP addresses all the weaknesses identified in the management of the Natura 2000 network in Cyprus, will fill knowledge gaps for species and habitats, improve the governance of the network, exploit ecosystem services and implement action and management plans for species and habitats.

The specific objectives of the project are to:

  • implement concrete conservation measures and apply legal instruments for habitats types and species of Community interest that are facing significant threats;
  • develop management structures at a regional scale for the sites of the Natura 2000 network outside state forest land, so as to involve main stakeholders (land owners, users and local authorities);
  • tackle the issue of privateland management in the Natura 2000 network through innovative solutions;
  • study and acquire the necessary knowledge on ecosystem services and their provisions at national and local scale;
  • strengthen the coherence and connectivity between the areas of the Natura 2000 network;
  • provide a geospatially-oriented database system for the Natura 2000 network and a web-based GIS tool for governmental, professional, expert and public use;
  • improve capacity, knowledge and awareness of key stakeholders, involved bodies, authorities and the general public with respect to the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Natura 2000 network; and
  • disseminate the results of the project and ensure their transfer, and replication by other stakeholders both nationally, regionally at the Mediterranean Biogeographical Region and at EU level.

    The complementary actions aim at amplifying the concrete actions of the IP project in the sites of the Natura 2000 network, and involve habitat restoration, surveillance for Invasive Alien Species, and studies on the ecology and conservation status of targeted species. The complementary actions will be finalised by December 2022.

    In addition to the IP budget itself the project will facilitate the coordinated use of 24 500 000 complementary funding from ERDF, EAFRD and EMFF funds.


    Expected results: The expected result of the project is the implementation to the fullest extent possible of the Cypriot PAF 2014-2020 for Natura 2000 through both the project itself and the mobilisation of complementary funds. A total of 17 general priority measures and 42 general measures will be implemented within the framework of the project.


    Reference: LIFE18 IPE/CY/000006
    Acronym: LIFE IP Physis
    Start Date: 01/11/2019
    End Date: 31/10/2029
    Total Eligible Budget: 16,996,979 €
    EU Contribution: 10,199,035 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Department of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment (MARDE)
    Legal Status: PUBLIC
    Address: Cyprus
    Contact Person: Elena STYLIANOPOULOU
    Email: Send Email

    LIFE Project Map



    • Cleaner technologies
    • Improved legislative compliance and enforcement
    • Knowledge development
    • Human health protection
    • Air pollutants
    • Pollutants reduction


    • ecological assessment
    • protected area
    • decision making support
    • biodiversity
    • integrated management
    • environmental management
    • natural environment
    • nature conservation
    • management plan
    • endangered species


    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)


    Name Type
    Department of Forests Ministry of Agriculture Rural Development and Environment-Cyprus Participant
    Game and Fauna Service-Ministry of Interior-Cyprus Participant
    Terra Cypria Foundation-Cyprus Participant
    BirdLife Cyprus Participant
    Frederick University-Cyprus Participant
    Cyprus Wildlife Society Participant
    Open University Cyprus Participant
    ACC Perivallon kai Kainotomia Limited-Cyprus Participant
    I.A.CO. Environmental & Water Consultants Limited-Cyprus Participant
    National and Kapodistrian University of Athens-Greece Participant
    Department of Fisheries and Marine Research at the Ministry of Agriculture Rural Development and Environment-Cyprus Participant
    Cyprus University of Technology Participant
    AP Marine Environmental Consultancy Ltd-Cyprus Participant
    Federation of Environmental Organisations of Cyprus Participant