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In the Alps, the Natura 2000 network aims to protect important animal and plant species as well as their habitats.
Natura 2000 is a network of protected areas, established by the 1992 EU Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora - or simply the Habitats Directive - and the 1972 Birds Directive.
Each Member State carries the main responsibility for the implementation of the Natura 2000 Programme by developing and implementing management plans for the sites.
The Emerald Network is the equivalent of Natura 2000 in Non-EU European countries, like Switzerland. It was created to integrate the European network and is based on the Bern Convention. Unlike the EU-directives, it is not legally binding.