German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Species conservation

Species groups and numbers* native to Germany and listed in the Habitats Directive

Annex IIAnnex IVAnnex VTotal**
Amphibians and reptiles420323
Fish and cyclostomes3143050
Other animals3056
Ferns and flowering plants26281341

Source: Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) 2016 after European Council 1992

Data as of November 2015

*Native species include sporadically occurring grasses and species which formerly occurred regularly, but are now either extinct or have disappeared.

** Species listed in more than one Annex are only counted once.

Detailed source: European Council (1992): Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. The Habitats Directive. In: EU Official Journal L 206, p. 7.

Numbers of species and sub-species listed in the Annexes to the EU Birds Directive

Birds Directive Annex Number
Annex IBird species for which Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are to be established193
Annex II/ASpecies which may be hunted in all member states24
Annex II/BSpecies which may be hunted in certain member states58
of which in Germany18
Annex III/ATrade and sale permissible if species acquired legally7
Annex III/BTrade and sale permissible if species acquired legally, but member states may make provision for certain restrictions19

Source: Federal Conservation Agency 2016 after European Parliament and European Council 2009, 2013

Status: 2013

Detailed sources: European Parliament and European Council (2009): Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (codified version) – Acts adopted before 1 December 2009 under the EC Treaty, the EU Treaty and the Euratom Treaty, in Official Journal of the European Union, Series L (Legislation) 53 (2010), 20. p. 7-25.

Detailed sources: European Parliament and European Council (2013): Council Directive 2013/17/EU of 13 May 2013 adapting certain directives in the field of environment, by reason of the accession of the Republic of Croatia, in Official Journal of the European Union, Series L 158/225.

The EU Habitats and Birds Directives provide the legal framework for species conservation in the EU

In the European Union (EU), two separate directives provide for the protection of wild animals and plants. The Habitats Directive is designed to protect biological diversity in EU member states. Both the species listed in the annexes to the Directive and also their habitats must be kept in a good conservation status. The Bird Protection Directive (Birds Directive) serves to protect both bird populations and their habitats in the EU. One of the instruments used is to designate protected areas.

The EU Habitats Directive protects wild animals and plants that are threatened or very rare throughout Europe (species of Community interest). It is designed to achieve good conservation status for the species listed in Annex II, IV and V of the Directive.

Under the Habitats Directive, the habitats of species listed in Annex II are designated as Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) to which protection measures apply. In Germany, there are currently 4,557 SCIs designated under the Habitats Directive (as of 2015) which also serve to protect the habitat types covered by the Directive.

The species listed in Annex IV are protected throughout Europe by a strict protection regime independent of designated protected areas. This also means that their habitats may not be damaged or destroyed. For species listed in Annex V, special rules apply to their use or removal from the natural environment. The Habitats Directive also sets out provisions for the reintroduction of species into areas in which they were formerly extinct.

In Germany, 281 animal and plant species listed in Annexes II, IV and V are protected (included extinct species). Once every six years, the member states publish reports on their protection measures and on measures to improve conservation status. The same applies to the habitat types listed in the Habitats Directive.

Establishing protected areas is the prime provision of the Birds Directive

The Birds Directive is designed to preserve populations of all wild bird species, including migratory birds. This applies throughout the territory of the European Union. Each member state designates specially protected areas (SPAs) for selected bird species. This involves those listed in Annex I and all regularly occurring migratory bird species. The Directive also regulates both management (hunting) and use (trade and sale) of the bird species listed in its Annexes II and III.