Natura 2000 management plans in France and the Netherlands: Carrots, sticks, sermons and different problems

Irene Bouwma*, Raoul Beunen, Duncan Liefferink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Many EU Member States are using management plans to ensure the sustainable conservation and management of Natura 2000 sites. The decision about whether to use management plans lies with the Member States. Although management planning systems differ, in most countries the management plan is developed at local level in close consultation with relevant stakeholders. This article explores to what extent national decisions on the management planning system have influenced the content of the local plans. The comparison of French and Dutch Natura 2000 management plans shows that the plans mostly propose conservation measures that can be implemented by individual owners or users of the site and for which funding is available. The individual measures in the French plans reflect the national decision that the management plans should work primarily as a funding tool. The individual measures in the Dutch plans however do not reflect the national decision that management plans should act as a legislative tool to regulate land use activities in and around the site. In the Netherlands, the focus has shifted towards a tool for the coordination of funding. The analysis shows that in both countries the selection of particular measures in the management plans is connected to other policies and funding mechanisms that deal with the problems perceived by involved actors, such as the Common Agricultural Policy and the Dutch National Programme for Nitrogen Deposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-65
JournalJournal for Nature Conservation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Management planning
  • Natura 2000
  • Nature management
  • Policy instruments
  • Protected areas


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