Natura 2000 is EU’s network of valuable nature areas. Its aim is to protect the types of nature and species that EU member states agree are of common interest. The legal basis for the Natura 2000 network comes from the Birds Directive which dates back to 1979 and the Habitats Directive from 1992. Together, these Directives constitute the backbone of the EU's internal policy on biodiversity protection. Natura 2000 is regulated by the Environmental Code regulations on protection of areas (chap. 7) and national interests (chap. 4).
Every Natura 2000-area has a preservation plan which includes an account of the area’s value. Sweden must ensure that the areas that are a part of the network receive the care they require, are protected from damage and maintain their natural value. The aim is to maintain a favourable protective status for the observed habitats and species. This means, to simplify it, that ‘meadows shall remain meadows’, that ‘natural forests shall remain natural forests’ and that species shall remain diversified.
In Stockholm County there are 235 Natura 2000-areas. All areas are mentioned on the website Sweden’s Natura 2000-areas. In all, approximately 56,000 hectares are included, of which about two thirds are water.