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This book analyses the Habitats Directive; one of the most prominent piece of EU environmental legislation of the past decades. Seen by some as the cornerstone of Europe’s nature conservation policy, among other measures the Directive established the so-called "Natura 2000" ecological network, which covers more than 18% of the surface of the EU. However, despite the fact the Directive was adopted over twenty years ago only 17% of the protected habitats and species in Europe are being adequately protected while 10-60 % of animal species remain under threat.

In light of the limited success and the contested nature of the Habitats Directive so far this book examines the successes and failures of the Habitats Directive from a legal and political angle. The book brings together international experts to consider the application, implementation and future of the Habitats Directive in order to assess whether the Habitats Directive is resilient enough to tackle biodiversity loss in the twenty- first century. Particular emphasis is put on the legal regime attached to the Natura 2000 network and its possible impact on land development and the relationship between the Habitats Directive and other topics including liability for ecological damage and transboundary nature conservation.