FAQ for Article 12 reporting 2008-2012

This page contains a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ's) relating to the Article 12 reporting process. Please note that the information requested under the Article 12 reporting refers only to those species and habitats as well as those Natura 2000 sites covered by the Habitats Directive.

Birds species checklist

Question: When should the Presence category “newly arriving” be used?

Reply (02/09/2013): The species checklist should include species with small or marginal regular breeding and/or wintering populations in the Member State, but not occasional or vagrant species. If a species has colonised the Member State during the reporting period (i.e. 2008–2012), it should be added to the species checklist (if not included already), and its Presence status changed to “newly arriving”. If a species colonised recently, but before 2008, its Presence status should be left as “Present”. In both cases, Member States are encouraged to provide a species report for the species in question, even if it is not possible to provide information for every section of the report (see also “How should population trends be reported for species that have colonised during the short-term (or long-term) trend period?” below).

Annex 2: Bird species status and trends

Section 3. Population trend and Section 5. Breeding range trend

Question: How should trends be entered in population / breeding range trend magnitude fields (i.e. 3.1.3, 3.2.3, 5.1.3 and 5.2.3)?

Reply (18/12/2012): The percentage change over the relevant period should be provided (where possible) for species whose trend direction is reported as “+ - Increase” or “- - Decrease”. These trend values should be reported without the “%” symbol (entries in trend magnitude fields are assumed to refer to the overall percentage change during the trend period) and without the “+” and “-” signs (these are inferred based on the trend direction category). For example, a species that has decreased by -10% to -20% during the trend period should be reported as trend direction = “- - Decrease”, trend magnitude minimum = “10” and trend magnitude maximum = “20” (i.e. the magnitude of the decrease is between 10% and 20%).

It is not possible to enter the “-” sign in trend magnitude fields in the reporting tool. In the case of species for which the trend magnitude minimum is negative and the trend magnitude maximum is positive – e.g. if the 95% confidence intervals of a statistically non-significant, broadly stable trend are -1% and +5% – the recommendation is to enter the trend direction as “Stable”, enter the trend magnitude minimum and maximum as “0”, and add a note in the Additional information field along the lines of “Overall short-term trend during 2001–2012 was +2% (95% CI: -1% and +5%) [source], but not statistically significant, so reported as Stable”.

As a number of Member States have indicated their wish to report non-zero trend magnitudes for “Stable” trends (in a quantitative, non-text, field), the reporting guidelines and the data standards implemented in the reporting tool will be revised for the next reporting round.

Section 3. Population trend

Question: How should population trends be reported for species that have colonised during the short-term (or long-term) trend period?

Reply (02/09/2013): In the case of breeding or wintering species that have become established in the Member State since 1980, the key pieces of information required are the most recent estimate of population size (to be provided in Section 2, as per normal) and the year of ‘colonisation’ (ideally, to be provided in field 3.3 Additional information). As it is not possible to report a population increase from a baseline of zero, the short-term / long-term (depending on when the species colonised) trend magnitude should be calculated based on the number of breeding pairs, individuals, etc., in the first year of colonisation.

For example, in the case of a species that first bred (one breeding pair) in 2004, but was estimated to have a breeding population of 10–15 pairs in 2011, the Short-term trend period (field 3.1.1) would be “2004–2011”, the Short-term trend direction (field 3.1.2) would be “+ Increase”, the Short-term trend magnitude minimum (field 3.1.3a) and maximum (field 3.1.3b) would be “900” and “1400” respectively (i.e. the percentage increase from one pair in 2004), and the entry in field 3.3 Additional information would be “Species first bred (one pair) in 2004.”, or similar.

Depending on the actual year of colonisation (and year of recent population estimate), the in-built ‘QA/QC’ checks in the reporting tool may highlight the entry in field 3.1.1/3.1.2 as outside the tolerances of the ideal trend period (as well as the absence of entries for Section 3.2, in the case of species that have colonised since 2000), but these error messages are ‘advisory’ only and will not prevent the submission of the species report.

Question: What data should be reported for species that have gone extinct nationally?

Reply (13/12/2013):

1) Species that went extinct nationally before 1980 (“extinct prior to 1980”). It is not necessary to create a Birds report for these species, unless the Member State wants to provide any further information (e.g. if a national reintroduction project is underway; see p.11 of the Art. 12 Explanatory Notes & Guidelines).

2) Species that have gone extinct nationally since 1980 (“extinct after 1980”). A Birds report should be provided for them, with certain key fields filled in. In these cases, the most important pieces of information are the year that the species went extinct, and the approximate size of its national population and/or breeding range in 1980 (so that the extent/rate of the species's decline can be assessed).

In the original checklist (the default checklist in the tool) there is no distinction between these two situations and the code “extinct” is used instead. If possible, this information in the original checklist should be checked and updated in the Presence column using either “extinct after 1980” or “extinct prior to 1980”.

Further guidance: For example in the case of a species that went extinct as a breeder in 1995, but was estimated to have a breeding population of 10 pairs in 1980, the following could be entered: “1980-1995” in field 3.2.1; “- - Decrease” in field 3.2.2; “100” in fields 3.2.3(a) and 3.2.3(b); the citations of the relevant sources in field 3.2.6; and an explanatory comment (e.g. “Species declined from 10 breeding pairs in 1980 to extinction as a breeding species in 1995”) in field 3.3. If data are available on the species's range size in or around 1980, the equivalent entries can also be provided in Section 5 (Breeding range trend).

Depending on the actual year of national extinction, the in-built QA/QC checks in the reporting tool may highlight the entry in field 3.1.1 or 3.1.2 as outside the tolerances of the ideal trend period, but these error messages are advisory only and will not prevent the submission of the species report.

Section 4. Breeding distribution map and range size

4.5 Range map

Question: Can the range map delivered under field 4.5 be a non-standard map?

Reply (23/5/2013): We expect all distribution maps delivered under field 4.3 (i.e. using 10x10km ETRS grids) to have a corresponding range map, the range maps have to follow the standards mentioned. Thus there should be a one to one relationship. Member States are able to submit an additional range map under field 4.4.

Section 8. SPA coverage and conservation measures.

Question: Does field 8.2.1 mean management plans as well? They are not given as an option.

Reply (12/12/2012): No, this field is asking for measures identified in the management plans (or in other instruments) and actually implemented ( not management plans as such).

Question: Is the measure 6.2 “Establishing wilderness areas/allowing succession (no intervention after calamities natural catastrophic events, succession where no management is necessary)” supposed to be used in all cases where the establishment of a protected area aims generally at no intervention? It seems also that measure 6.1. (“Establish protected areas/sites”) and 6.2. are overlapping?

Reply (12/12/2012): On the measure 6.2 mainly the part ‘allowing succession’ is a management measure that can be e.g. one-off measure (or only applicable in a given area of a large protected area) and may not need the designation of a protected area. It is up to you to see what is more relevant. You can also use both of these measures.

Question: Can one conservation measure be reported several times under field 8.2.1? Should the measures be ranked with ‘L’ and ‘M’ as well?

Reply (23/5/2013): The reporting tool is built so that it does not allow reporting same measure more than once.

The reporting tool allows use of ‘H’, ‘M’ and ‘L’ under 8.2.3 ‘ranking’, but the reporting format requests only ‘H’. You can use all of them, but please make sure ‘H’ is reported. See more detailed guidance here.

Question 1 of 2: What is exactly meant at point 8.2 by “measures taken (i.e. already being implemented) within the reporting period”? Does it mean that the measure needs to be new and created during the reporting period (= 2008-2012)?

Reply (23.5.2013): This means measures identified in the management plans (or other instruments) and actually implemented. The measure does not have to be new or created during the reporting period, but it must be implemented during the reporting period.

Question 2 of 2: For example

if a legal measure aimed at keeping dead wood in forests has been taken in 2003, should it be reported because it is still implemented ? On the other side, it has not been established in the reporting period.

Reply (23.5.2013): Yes, it should be reported because it is still being implemented, and management would be different with the measure taken in 2003 was not there.

If a protected area exists since 1970 (e.g. Nature Reserve), should it be reported ? It is still a protected area today, but what to do if no other protected area has been created in the reporting period for this habitat?

Reply (23.5.2013): The creation of a protected area on paper is not considered a conservation measure per se for the reporting purpose; but if a particular area is protected/designated to implement “passive management” i.e. no-intervention, then it should be considered regardless of the year of its creation.

Should a Natura 2000 site be considered as a “protected site”? As Natura 2000 sites have been established before the reporting period, should they be reported for this cycle (because these sites still have a legal status) – or not?

Reply(23.5.2013): As above.

Complementary reply (4.7.2013):Measure 6.1. can also cover for example SPAs with an effective site protection (including both active management and/or particular resource/land use regulations) relevant for the species concerned. Measure 6.3. ‘Legal protection of habitats and species’ covers more general legal protection measures regardless on their location, also outside protected area (e.g. a habitat or an area of occurrence of a strictly protected species is protected).

Reporting under MSFD and Nature Directives

Question: The Member States have been informed that the reporting under MSFD and the Nature Directives will be streamlined as regards marine species and habitats covered by the Nature Directives. How in practice could this streamlining be implemented and what is the implication for reporting under Nature Directives??

Reply (10/7/2012): In 2012-2013 the following is proposed to the Member States as a means to streamline reporting under the Habitats, Birds and Marine Directives on the conservation status of marine species and habitat types of Community interest:.

To submit the reports following the agreed procedure & deadline for the Habitats Directive (by 30 June 2013) and Birds Directive (by 31 December 2013). In this case reporting under these two directives is considered as part of the MSFD reporting. However, the Member States will have to inform the Commission (the unit dealing with MSFD reporting) about their intentions regarding the 15 October 2012 deadline under MSFD.

The draft EC document on links between the MSFD and the Nature Directives provides an indicative list of which habitat types and species under the Nature Directives are considered as ‘marine’ for the MSFD reporting is available here.

There are no implications to the reporting under the Nature Directives. The reporting deadlines for the Nature directives (i.e. 30 June 2013 under the Habitats Directive and 31 December 2013 under the Birds Directive) should be respected and reports per MS under Nature directives must include all species and habitat types as agreed. Reporting after these deadlines will however be considered late reporting under both the Nature Directives and the MSFD.

Contact point for reporting under MSDF: David Connor, DG ENV Marine environment and Water Industries, email: david.connor AT ec.europa.eu. You can get more information on the guidance for reporting under the MSFD at the Marine Strategy Framework Directive reporting resources website.