EU LIFE-Nature, Natura 2000 & Coillte
LIFE, the financial instrument of the European Commission for the environment introduced in 1992, is one of the spearheads of the European Union's environmental policy. The specific objective of LIFE-Nature is to contribute to the implementation of Community nature protection legislation: the "Birds" Directive (79/409/EEC) and the "Habitats" Directive (92/43/EEC), and in particular, the establishment of the "Natura 2000" network for the in situ management and conservation of Europe's most remarkable fauna, flora and habitats.
The Birds and Habitats Directives aim to protect wildlife species and habitats. Each Member State is required to identify sites of European importance and to put in place a special management plan to protect them, combining longterm conservation with economic and social activities, as part of a sustainable development strategy. These sites make up the Natura 2000 network - the cornerstone of EU nature protection policy. The Natura 2000 network already comprises more than 18,000 sites, covering over 17% of EU territory.
Coillte Teoranta (The Irish Forestry Board) is a state-owned forestry company. The Coillte forest estate comprises 445,000 hectares of land, including in excess of 22,000 hectares in Natura 2000 sites. Strong emphasis is placed on achieving balance between commercial, environmental and social objectives in managing company operations. Coillte has been recognised as achieving this balance by the international certification body, Forestry Stewardship Council.
Coillte and LIFE-Nature Projects
Coillte are already receiving EU funds for their projects Restoring Active Blanket Bog in Ireland and Restoring Raised Bog in Ireland, The Blanket Bog project (LIFE02 NAT/IRL/8490) runs from 2002 - 2007. For more details see project website www.irishbogrestorationproject.ie The Raised Bog project (LIFE04 NAT/IE/000121) runs from 2004-2008. For more details see project website www.raisedbogrestoration.ie.