European ecological network of special areas of conservation, called to integrate nature protection requirements into other EU policies such as agriculture, regional development and transport (URL: http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/nature/home.htm).
Natura 2000 is the European Union-wide network of nature conservation sites established under the 1992 Council Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (92/43/EEC) -'The EC Habitats Directive'. Natura 2000 comprises Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) designated under that Directive, and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) classified under the 1979 Council Directive on the conservation of wild birds (79/409/EEC) -'The EC Wild Birds Directive'. Designation of SACs and SPAs is the responsibility of each member state.
Sites selected by the European Commission for designation as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under the Habitats Directive or classified as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the Wild Birds Directive are referred to collectively in the Regulations as European sites. The network of sites across the European Community is known as Natura 2000.