German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

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National assessment

Under Article 4 of the Habitats Directive, there is a statutory obligation to conduct a national assessment following the criteria set out in Annex III to the Directive when compiling the list of sites proposed for inclusion in the Natura 2000 system of protected areas. In accordance with a procedure agreed upon between the individual states (Länder) of Germany and the federal government, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) provides technical guidance on national-level assessment (concrete assessment proposals). This guidance puts the regional states in a position to evaluate criteria from a supraregional perspective when conducting their assessments.


Assessment criteria for national assessment of Annex I habitat types

  • Representativity
    Degree of representativity of the occurrence of the listed habitat type on the proposed site of Community interest, in relation to the overall occurrence of that habitat type in the physiographic province or biogeographical region, PDF, in German. In Germany, representativity is appraised upon the basis of the classification of the country into physiographic units, and takes into consideration the special manifestations of the habitat type concerned, as well as the natural variation of habitat types at the level of physiographic units.
    Qualitative indications on the occurrence and distribution of habitat types in the individual physiographic units is collated by the BfN on the basis of its own research and using evaluations of data provided by the states.
  • Relative surface area
    Area of the proposed site of Community interest covered by the habitat type concerned in relation to the total area covered by that habitat type in Germany. The total area of each habitat type in Germany, upon which the national assessment is based, has been determined by the BfN and is published in Ellwanger et al. 2000; Balzer et al. 2002.
  • Conservation status and restorability
    Degree of conservation and restoration possibilities of the habitat type concerned on the proposed site of Community interest. The 'conservation status' of individual sites in relation to habitat types can only be assessed with detailed local knowledge. Conservation status is generally determined by the states. The BfN does not check these determinations, or only carries out a plausibility assessment.
  • Global assessment
    Global assessment of the habitat type concerned on the proposed site of Community interest. This integrates all the other assessment criteria.

Assessment criteria for national assessment of Annex II species

  • Relative population size
    Population size of the species present on the proposed site of Community interest in relation to the populations present within the national territory of Germany. The relative population sizes of the individual species have been determined by the BfN and are published in Ellwanger et al. 2002. In parallel, for species whose population sizes could not be determined due to lacking data or because of their specific ecology, the number of currently known occurrences or the number of verified plane survey sheet (MTB) quadrat occurrences since 1980 was determined, in order to gain at least indications of the approximate abundance of the species. The BfN bases its approach on the stipulation made by the EU (Article 4 in conjunction with Annex III, Stage 1 of the Habitats Directive process) that the criterion of relative population size is to be assessed in every case, even if, strictly speaking, the available scientific data is insufficient, as is the case in particular for most invertebrate species, but also for fish species.
  • Conservation status
    Degree of conservation of the features of the habitat which are important for the species concerned and restoration possibilities on the proposed site of Community interest. The 'conservation status' of individual sites in terms of their importance for species can only be assessed with detailed local knowledge. The BfN does not review these data, or only conducts a plausibility assessment.
  • Degree of isolation
    Degree of isolation (chorological situation) of the population present on the proposed site of Community interest, in relation to the natural range of the species. The current ranges of Annex II species occurring in Germany has been determined by the BfN by drawing up overview maps on a plane survey sheet basis.
  • Global assessment
    Global assessment of the species concerned on the proposed site of Community interest. This integrates all the other assessment criteria.

Last Change: 02/01/2006

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