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Fitosociologia numero 44 (2) S1

pag. 9-16: Vegetation Science and the implementation of the Habitat Directive in Spain: up-to-now experiences and further development to provide tools for management

J. Loidi1, M. Ortega2 & O. Orrantia 3

1Dept. of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of the Basque Country, Ap. 644, E-48080 Bilbao (Spain); e-mail: javier.loidi@ehu.es

2Dept. of Genetics, Physical Anthropology and Animal Physiology. University of the Basque Country, Ap. 644, E-48080 Bilbao (Spain)

3CIMAS Av. Madariaga 1-3o, E-48014 Bilbao (Spain)

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abstract

One decade and a half after being proclaimed, the Habitat Directive has been largely implemented in most of the EU member states under various approaches and with different degrees of intensity. The high contribution to European biodiversity provided by the Spanish territories, along with extensive mountainous areas with low population densities and the engagement in safeguarding biological and ecological patrimony exhibited by a large part of the society and its governments have led to the design of a vast Natura-2000 network in Spain. At present, it includes 23.6% of the national territories which represent 24.7% of total EU network and the proportion of Annex I habitats types incorporated to protected areas embody 30.22% when referred to the total existing in the country. Under these circumstances, naturalistic evaluation appears as an important task for vegetation scientists and some criteria and scales are commented. In this sense undertaking the development of Payment for Environmental Services (PES) schemes, where landowners collaborating to environmental welfare will be rewarded with money, becomes a viable contrivance to political managers.

keywords

Habitat Directive, management tools, naturalistic evaluation, payment for environmental services, phytosociology, vegetation science