Role of the Natura 2000 network and management of some prioritized habitats in the integrated landscape protection in the Slovak Republic

Reference: LIFE19 IPE/SK/000003 | Acronym: LIFE- IP NATURA 2000 SK



The Natura 2000 network in Slovakia covers approximately 30% of the country’s area. It includes 41 special protection areas (SPAs), which is considered to be sufficient by the European Commission. However, Slovakia's national list of sites of community importance (SCIs) contains 642 sites, 93% of what is required and therefore subject to an infringement procedure by the Commission. Moreover, the legal designation of sites and their management plans are not complete. Up to May 2021, 21 SPAs and 554 SCIs were lacking approved management plans. Although conservation targets have been established for each species and habitat type, there is no methodology to assess the conservation status of habitats and species at site level. In addition, 32% of habitat and 37% of species target features of SCIs/SACs have no data entries to set conservation targets for each site.

The management planning cycle lacks records on the management measures implemented and evaluation of their effectiveness, as well as a robust monitoring methodology for all aspects. Some specific habitat types, such as peatland and inland salt meadows, lack management measures, while some traditional landscape features and their biodiversity are disappearing due to land-use changes and detrimental subsidies. Forest and water management plans and their implementation do not properly take nature conservation requirements into account, while nature-based solutions are mistrusted and examples are not well known.

Knowledge on ecological connectivity requirements is missing for some species and habitat types, meaning the coherence of the Natura 2000 network is not properly ensured through existing ecological networks. The possible impacts of climate change on Natura 2000 habitats and species, and the vulnerability of particular Natura 2000 sites to climate change, are unknown. The ecosystem services provided by Natura 2000 sites are also poorly known and therefore not considered in planning, policy and decision-making.


The LIFE- IP NATURA 2000 SK project’s main objective is to implement the Prioritised Action Framework (PAF) for the Natura 2000 Network in Slovakia for 2021-2027 and improve the conservation status of specific species and habitat types, along with the coherence of the Natura 2000 network. This will help achieve the targets of the EUs Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the general objectives of the EU Habitats and Birds directives. PAFs are a strategic planning tool for providing a comprehensive overview of the measures needed to implement the Natura 2000 network.

The specific objectives include:

  • Setting of conservation targets and management of Natura 2000 sites in Slovakia based on sound data and methodologies;
  • Assessment of climate change impacts on Natura 2000 sites, species and habitat types and proposal of mitigation measures;
  • Ensuring conservation of peatland habitats;
  • Establishment of demonstration agroforestry systems supporting threatened species and habitats;
  • Restoring and managing habitats for highly threatened species such as Tetrao urogallus (capercaillie), Pseudogaurotina excellens, Emys orbicularis (European pond turtle), Thesium ebracteatum and Marsilea quadrifolia;
  • Replication of experience and knowledge;
  • Evaluation of the socio-economic benefits and ecosystem services of Natura 2000; and
  • Improvement in public awareness and acceptance of Natura 2000.

The project will also contribute to implementation of the EUs strategy on climate change adaptation and some national policy and legislation, including: the above mentioned PAF 2021-2027; Greener Slovakia Strategy of the Environmental Policy of the Slovak Republic to 2030; the Concept of Nature and Landscape Protection to 2030 (in preparation); the National Strategy and Action Plan for Protection of Biodiversity to 2020 (to be updated to 2030); and the National Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change.

On top of the project budget, LIFE- IP NATURA 2000 SK will facilitate the coordinated use of more than €1.2 billion of complementary funding from the operational programme Quality of Environment and the common agricultural policy (especially the rural development programme).


Main expected project results:

Missing data added and evaluation prepared of the status of target features in SCIs/SACs and published in the Complex Information and Monitoring System of the State Nature Conservancy (KIMS) for 37% of species target features and 32% of habitat features; system developed for evaluation of management effectiveness related to target features in SCIs/SACs, including its implementation within KIMS; related update of 20 management plans for Natura 2000 areas;

Restoration and protection of around 3 000 ha of target habitats and species habitats; specific close-to-nature forest management on 600 ha and specific hunting management in two pilot sites;

Migration corridors and stepping stone habitats identified and secured through amended spatial plans; related Catalogue of Measures for amendments of Territorial System of Ecological Stability and management plans of respective Natura 2000 sites; and

Two integrated management plans (for the Zahorie and Polana sites); catalogue of measures for management of protected habitats; strategy for stakeholder involvement and communication; guidelines for communication with land users in protected areas; study on impact of climate change and related recommendations on mitigation measures in Natura 2000 sites.


Key results of complementary actions:

Completed network of SCIs/SACs in Slovakia;

Scientific knowledge gaps filled on species and habitat types in the Slovak reference list;

Management plans approved for the remaining SCIs/SACs and SPAs;

Monitoring of habitat types and species of community importance performed on 11 000 permanent monitoring sites;

Complex Information and Monitoring System (KIMS) updated; and

Regular reporting pursuant to Habitats Directive Art. 17 completed.


Reference: LIFE19 IPE/SK/000003
Acronym: LIFE- IP NATURA 2000 SK
Start Date: 01/01/2021
End Date: 31/12/2030
Total Budget: 16,622,242 €
EU Contribution: 9,973,345 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: Ministry of Environment of the Slovak republic
Legal Status: PUBLIC
Address: Slovakia Slovensko
Contact Person: Michal Sutriepka

LIFE Project Map



  • Integrated management
  • Bogs and Mires
  • Knowledge development
  • Ecological coherence


  • environmental education
  • monitoring
  • integrated management
  • environmental training
  • nature conservation
  • restoration measure
  • endangered species


  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)
  • Directive 2009/147 - Conservation of wild birds - Birds Directive (codified version of Directive 79/409/EEC as amended) (30.11.2009)
  • COM(2013)216 - EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (16.04.2013)


Name Type
Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University Participant
The State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic Participant
Slovak Water Management Enterprise, state enterprise Participant
National Forest Centre Participant
DAPHNE Institute of Applied Ecology Participant
WWF Slovakia Participant
Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic Coordinator