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Brussels, 28 March 2008
Details on specific additions to the Natura 2000 network in January and March 2008, broken down by country
The three recent additions - in January and March - cover the Alpine, Mediterranean and Macaronesian bio-geographical regions. Ten countries have added further areas to their lists of "Sites of Community Importance".
Three new mountain sites in Austria include an extension of the Fliesser Sonnenhänge, the largest network of dry meadows in the Tyrol, home to the silver-washed fritillary butterfly Argynnis paphia, and Lendspitz-Maiernigg, a small wooded site near Lake Wörthersee which is home to wigeons Anas penelope and yellow-bellied toads Bombina variegata.
Cyprus has added 36 sites, including the 90 km2 Troodos national park and the 17 km2 Larnaka salt lakes, where large numbers of flamingos (sometimes more than 7000) winter between November and March, feeding on the brine shrimps Artemia salina that hatch there in the spring.
Finland has added 5 small sites, including Pappilan niitty and Mieraslompolon kenttä, two areas that are important habitats for the woodland ringlet butterfly Erebia medusa, a species particularly threatened by a shift away from traditional farming methods.
France has added 32 new sites in the Mediterranean region including the Asse river area in Provence, home to the critically endangered Rhone Streber fish Zingel asper, the Val d'Argens in the Var, home to the vulnerable marsh fritillary Euphydryas aurinia, and the Grotte de la source du Jaur, a cave system home to large numbers of Schreibers' long-fingered bats Miniopterus schreibersi, which are increasingly threatened.
Malta has added 27 sites including Rdumijiet ta Malta, 23km2 of coastal cliffs that are home to numerous endemic plants like the Maltese cliff orache Cremnophyton lanfrancoi, the rare leopard snake Elaphe situla, and seabirds such as the Yelkouan shearwater Puffinus yelkouan.
Poland has added 18 sites, among them the Góry Slonne mountains covered with extensive beech forests, which are classified as an important bird area hosting Ural owl Strix uralensis, golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos and black stork (Ciconia nigra), and are also home to lynx Lynx lynx, wolf Canis lupus and Triturus montandoni, the Carpathian newt.
Slovakia has added a wealth of sites including Beskýd, and the 219km2 traditional farming area of Mala Fatra in the Carpathians, where the fauna includes bears and wolves, and the flora includes Clusius’ gentian Gentiana clusii and the Slovak pasqueflower Pulsatilla slavica. Mala Fatra is an excellent illustration of how Natura 2000 works: without management the mountain pastures risk turning to scrub, so conservationists and farmers are joining forces to find ways to maintain extensive farming practices within the area to benefit both farmers and the environment.
Slovenia has added almost 750km2 to the network in the Julian Alps, a well preserved alpine ecosystem of forest, grassland and limestone pavement that hosts plants such as Alpine sea holly Eryngium alpinum and the short-haired sandwort Moehringia villosa, birds, and iconic European fauna such as brown bears and lynx.
Spain has added three Macaronesian sites in the Canary Islands, including the Sebadales de Güigüí seagrass meadows (72km2), which shelter hundreds of different marine species. These meadows are remarkable for their underwater flowering plants.
Ten small sites have also been added in Sweden.
The updated Alpine list was adopted on 25 January 2008.
The updated Macaronesian list was also adopted on 25 January 2008.
The updated Mediterranean list was adopted today, on 28 March 2008.
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