How to support the effective management of Natura 2000 sites?
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In Europe, biodiversity conservation relies on the Natura 2000 network. However, it is often difficult to ensure the favourable conservation status of species and habitats due to scarce financial resources. Therefore, we examined the current management strategies and conditions of three Italian Natura 2000 sites based on a questionnaire and stakeholder meetings. Additionally, we qualitatively assessed the potential of ecosystem services provision. Then an A'WOT analysis was carried out to identify and highlight internal and external factors affecting natural and semi-natural ecosystems and the socio-economic context, aiming to propose new instruments and approaches for effective management. The analysis revealed opportunities for developing tourism and the high potential of regulating services, whereas the bureaucratic burden and a lack of funding threaten the attainment of biodiversity conservation goals. Thus, we propose that payments for ecosystem services should be considered to support the effective management of Natura 2000 sites.
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