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Samstag, 22. Juni 2013

Natura 2000 network of protected areas - a delaunay triangulation point of view

Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature & biodiversity policy. It is an EU wide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) designated by Member States under the Habitats Directive, and also incorporates Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which they designate under the 1979 Birds Directive. [1]

In Austria, a discussion about the (in)completeness of the protected area network is ongoing [2].

Let's have a simple look at the network properties of the Austrian Natura 2000 protected areas done by GRASS GIS [3]

GIS data: SRTM [4], Natura 2000 data – the European network of protected sites - status end 2011 [5], European countries [6]

colored srtm:

r.colors map=srtemgar@gar color=srtm

extract centroid of Natura 2000 protected areas:

v.extract input=n2knewtwork output=n2knewtwork_centroid type=centroid

delaunay triangulation of centroids:

v.delaunay -l input=n2knewtwork_centroid output=n2knewtwork_centroid_delaunay

The delaunay triangulation of Natura 2000 protected area centroids in Austria is less densed compared to surrounding countries. 

So some additions may indeed be necessary to include all habitats and species of European interest.

[1] EU 2013. Natura 2000 network.

[2] Umweltdachverband 2013. Zukunft Natura 2000 – Raus aus dem Schatten! Available at:

[3] GRASS GIS 2013. Version: 6.4.3svn, SVN Revision: 56757 Available at:

[4] CGIAR-CSI 2008. SRTM 90 m Digital Elevation Data. Available at:

[5] EEA 2012. Natura 2000 data – the European network of protected sites. European Environment Agency. Available at:

[6] Eurostat 2013. Administrative units and Statistical units. Available at: