Natura 2000 network, closer than you think
This app provides information about the protected areas of the Natura 2000 network. It allows users to send pictures collected in each site as well as an overall feedback about the protected area.
Source: Android description / Image: Jose Luis Cernadas Iglesias CC BY 2.0 (cropped image)
Download: Android 4.4 (16.74MB) / iOS 8.0 (40.2MB) / web
Runs offline: partially (connection necessary for the consultation of the different spaces)
Last update: Android 02/12/2016 (v. 1.0.1) – iOS 04/12/2016 (v. 1.0.1)
Website of the developer: Intrasoft International for the European Commission Joint Research Centre
The MyNatura2000 application, available for both Android and iOS devices, allows you to query information about the different natural enclaves included in this European network. These sites are divided into Sites of Community Importance (SCI), designated according to the Habitats Directive and which, once officially declared, are called Special Areas of Conservation (SAC); and Special Protection Areas (SPA), areas that stand out for the species of birds that inhabit in them and are subject to special conservation under the Birds Directive (there are natural spaces that share both figures).
Although the consultation of the information on the different spaces is free, if you want to send images or opinions you must register as a user through the portal of the European EU Login. Your images and impressions could be published on the website of the European Commission dedicated to the Natura 2000 network sites (the application does not detail exactly in which section).
The application has the following options:
- Sites list, which lists all the areas included in the application. The SCI are distinguished by an icon representing a leaf, while SPA are symbolized by the silhouette of a bird. The enclaves that share both protection figures are represented by an icon which includes the two above mentioned symbols. Each natural space includes a sheet with general data, a map with its location, an option for sending observations and feedback, a section to see the available images and impressions shared by other use.
- Sites map, section similar to the previous one, although the query is made from a map in which the different cataloged areas are represented, also indicating the location of the user.
- Report an observation, section from which you can send images and overall feedback about the different sites. You can fill out the form and send it later, when you get internet connection again (the report is saved as a draft).
- Login o register, to register as a user through the aforementioned website.
- My reports, from where you can consult your drafts and sent reports.
- About the app, tab that includes a small explanation on the purpose of the application and the Natura 2000 network in general, including a contact email address.
In the upper right there is also a drop-down menu that gives access to legal aspects related to data protection, personal information that is collected, acknowledgement, etc.
Images: screenshots 20/12/2016. © European Union, 1995-2016
Approximately 18 % of Europe’s land area and 6 % of marine areas are classified as a Natura 2000 area, which means that roughly 65 % of European citizens live within 5 km of a site and 98 %, within a radius of 20 km (Beresford et al, 2016). However, these spaces, which are home to remarkable representations of some of the continent’s most prominent species, are unknown to 73% of the population according to the summary of Eurobarometer Attitudes of Europeans Towards Biodiversity published in October 2015.
MyNatura2000 tries to curb this lack of information. Although for the moment the interaction achieved is practically null, the options of sending images and comments can be useful in order to publicize these spaces, although it would be necessary to know in which section of the website of the European Commission these contents are shared in order to promote the exchange of information between different users. One aspect that would need to be incorporated for future versions would be the full functionality of the app offline, since internet access in some of these protected areas is difficult or non-existent. Similarly, the sheets of the different sites should incorporate a description of the place without having to direct the user to other web pages, including at least an explanation of why that space is considered as SCI/SAC or SPA.