FAQ for Article 17 reporting

This page contains a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ's) relating to the Article 17 reporting process. Please note that the information requested under the Article 17 reporting refers only to those species and habitats as well as those Natura 2000 sites covered by the Habitats Directive.

Annex A - General report

4. Comprehensive management plans for the Natura 2000 sites (Art 6(1)).

Question: Does this question cover both SCIs/SACs and SPAs?

Reply (10/7/2012): No, it covers only comprehensive management plans for pSCIs/SCIs/SACs. SPA's are designated under the Birds Directive.

General aspects for Annex B and D

1.1 Maps (fields 1.1.1 Distribution Map and 1.1.3. Year or Period)

Question: Can we use the period taken into account for the maps for the reporting round 2001-2006? For example, if a species has been surveyed since 1994 but as it is a very long-term inventory still going on, the map will be created with data from the current reporting period (2007-2012) but also with data from earlier. Moreover, it is almost impossible to check all the localities that were discovered during the 1994-2007 period. So in this case we intend to give ‘1994-2012’ for this point.

Reply (12/12/2012):The guidance for this field advises to give the year or period when distribution data was collected, so 1994-2012 is fine. You are always free to further explain in field 2.8.2 (species) and 2.7.5 (habitats).

There may also be cases where the data has been collected only for the previous report e.g. 1994-2006 and for the current report an expert has strong enough evidence to estimate that the situation has not changed. In this case we recommend to report 1994-2006 in field 1.1.3. (indicating the period when data was collected) and explain in field ‘other relevant information’ the use of expert opinion.

1.1.5 Range map

Question: Can the range map delivered under field 1.1.5 be a non-standard map?

Reply (23/5/2013): We expect all distribution maps delivered under field 1.1.1 (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 1.1.5.

Reason for change (field 2.3.10, 2.4.15 etc)

Question: What to add in this field if there are no changes? A tool wants us to choose something. Should we ignore it?

Reply (10/7/2012): If there are no changes between reporting rounds, there is no need to complete the field “Reason for change” although the tool will flag it up as an error. So, you can ignore it. The tool is designed to flag up empty fields as errors because it can also mean that the person forgot to complete this field.

2.8 (habitats) and 2.9(species) conclusions

Question: Is there any additional guidance on the use of qualifiers other than that given in the Explanatory Notes and Guidelines?

Reply (19/3/2013): Please see further guidance here.

Section 3 Natura 2000 coverage & conservation measures

Question: Does Section 3 cover only SCIs and SACs as indicated in the Guidelines (i.e. thereby excluding pSCIs)?.

Reply (12/12/2012):No, this section should cover pSCIs, SCIs and SACs.

3.2. Conservation measures

3.2.1. Measure

Question:Can one conservation measure be reported several times under field 3.2.1? Should the measures be ranked with ‘L’ and ‘M’ as well?

Reply (23/05/2013):The reporting tool is built so that it does not allow reporting the same measure more than once. However, there is an error in the species part of the tool and this is currently possible . In order to keep both reporting parts consistent and the analysis of these data as simple as possible , we recommend the Member States to use the same measure only once.

The reporting tool allows use of ‘H’, ‘M’ and ‘L’ under 3.2.3 ‘ranking’, but the reporting format requests only ‘H’. As it is too late to correct this, 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 3.2 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 (= 2007-2012)?.

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 SCIs/SACs 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)..

Question: Does this field 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.

3.2.5. Broad evaluation of the measure

Question:If a measure ensures maintaining of the existing surface of a habitat with unfavourable status (e.g. U1), but does not ensure the improvement of the habitat’s conservation status, how should it be reported ?

Reply (23/5/2013): It could be 3.2.5. b) ‘enhance’ as if the measure is not implemented there is a deterioration, but when implemented it enhances, but not enough to achieve FCS. Or if it is a matter of time , use 3.2.5 c) ‘long term’.

Annex B- Species report

Question:Do we need to report on hybrid populations?

Reply (12/12/2012):This issue has not been discussed during the previous and current reporting round but our pragmatic guidance (question has been raised concerning some amphibians, reptiles, fish species and plant species) is that if it concerns a hybrid between two Annex II species then the hybrid population would be taken into account in both reports of the Annex II species concerned. If a hybrid is between Annex II species and a natural but non-Annex II species, then it is a case-by-case reporting. If a hybrid is between Annex II species and an alien species, the report should not cover the hybrid, but where appropriate this should be noted as a threat or pressure.

0.2. Species

Question: If a Member State has a geographic restriction for a species x from Annex II, IV and V (i.e. from all Annexes), does it need to submit an Art 17 report for such a species?

Reply (10/7/2012): Yes, a report should be submitted. The geographical restriction for one or more Annexes concerns only the protection aspect (as defined for the relevant Annex) of a given species, in a given Member State. The species is nevertheless a species of Community interest according to Article 1 and 2. As the geographical restriction is not It should be noted that this legal interpretation is also justified in technical terms by the fact that the Commission, in order to understand and assess the EU-wide / biogeographical situation of such species needs information on the status of the species in all EU-territory (including the territory of the Member States with geographical restrictions).

This issue has a consequence to the existing Art 17 checklist and the Commission has informed directly the Member States concerned (EE, ES, FI, SE) on how to do the necessary changes (Commission email of 18.6.2012). These Member States are asked to update the checklist following the guidance provided by the User Manual of the Art 17 Reporting tool (see pages 6-10)

If you have problems, you are invited to contact the Helpdesk for Art 17 reporting: reportingart12art17ATmnhn.fr.

2.4. Population

2.4.1 Population size estimation (using individuals or agreed exceptions where possible) and 2.4.2 (optional field, using population unit other than individuals)

Question: Each MS has to specify species populations using 'individuals' as units, except for the species listed in the 'agreed exception list' available on the Reference Portal - for which we can use for example 'm²' as population unit. Is this correct?

Reply (10/7/2012): Yes, the general rule is to use ‘individuals’ or for the limited number of species something else which are specified in the list of exceptions available on the under Point 5b in the Art 17 Reference Portal.

Question: For other species than the ones listed in the 'agreed exceptions', MS can first use other units than individuals to make the assessment - for instance use area units - but then these units must be converted into 'individuals'. Is this correct?

Reply (10/7/2012): You can use other units when making your assessments. It is in deed recommended* that if any other units than ‘individual’ is used or if the species is not listed in the agreed exceptions, the unit should be converted into ‘individuals’ wherever possible, so this leaves the final judgement to you. However, from the EU level assessment point of view, if this recommendation is not followed, it does create similar problems than during the last round.

Please remember also that the field 2.4.3 (additional information on conversion) is valuable to collect different problems for future debates. There is also a specific guidance that if a species occurs only in one MS there is no need to change the unit used in 2001-2006 reporting as this species covers 100% of the EU population.

Question: For 'Sphagnum sp.', 'Cladonia sp.', 'Lycopodium sp.' groups, according to the guidelines (IV.b.iii), MS are allowed to use other population units for the assessment, based on the list available on the Reference Portal - for instance 'm²' instead of 'individuals'. It is not clear whether we also have to convert these units into individuals'?

Reply (10/7/2012):For these three groups a report giving only the overall assessment of conservation status per region is enough (see chapter II.f.i of the guidelines), so this is why the guidelines has not included guidance for them on the population units (the EU level assessment will cover only the groups). In case you decide to submit an additional report for a particular species under these groups, our advice would be to follow the list of exceptions for Bryophytes (and no need to convert units to individuals.

Question: Using 'individuals' as units seems nearly impossible for other species (that are not included in the 'exceptions' and are not mentioned in the guidelines), for instance Helix pomatia and Unio crassus

Reply (10/7/2012): One way to solve the problem is to use the classes as on the page 40 of the guidelines. Most likely your experts can say which class that is the most accurate. You may want also to contact some other MS which used individuals for Unio crassus in the previous reports e.g. Denmark and Austria. See also the examples in Box 4 and Appendix 4 of the guidelines on how to get rough estimations on a population size.

The population units and calculation of population size was discussed in great length when the revision of the reporting format took place. What is now requested on the reporting format on the population estimation is a sort of compromise for the current reporting round to have at least some level of improvement compared to the wild use of units of the previous reporting round. We are working on rough population estimations to get indications where we are with the conservation status, this exercise is not 100% scientific. However, the scientific effort should be put on trend and threats information, not on population. The rough estimations for population are good enough for the purpose they are used for.

For further information please see sections 2.4.2 & 2.4.3 from the explanatory guidelines for Article 17.

2.5. Habitat for the species

Question: The guidelines suggest that the suitable habitat for the species, species present or not, should be used to assess the parameter ‘habitat of the species’ (top page 68). However, it is not clear where the information on area of (occupied) habitat (2.5.1.) and trends (2.5.5 -2.5.9) should be used and should quality of the habitat (2.5.4) refer to suitable or occupied habitat. .

Reply (14/2/2013):There is unfortunately an inconsistency between the reporting format (Annex B) and which information should be used in the evaluation matrix (Annex C) for ‘habitat for the species’.

As many Member States are already very advanced with their national reports a change to the guidance at this stage would be difficult or even impossible to implement for some Member States, the ETC/BD proposes that any official change should wait for the next reporting cycle (i.e. 2013-2019).However, the ETC gives the following recommendation:

When defining favourable conservation status of a species the Directive states <i<“there is,="" and="" will="" probably="" continue="" to="" be,="" a="" sufficiently="" large="" habitat="" maintain="" its="" populations="" on="" long-term="" basis”<="" i="">(Art 1i). The assessment on the habitat for the species aims to determine whether habitat is a limiting factor for the species (both in terms of area and quality).The guidance document proposes to use information from field 2.5.9 (area of suitable habitat) for the evaluation matrix, but at the same time field 2.5.4 (quality of the habitat) refers to field 2.5.1 (area occupied). The ETC/BD suggest that quality of suitable habitat can be reported at 2.5.9 but if this is done it should be noted at 2.8.2 (other relevant information).</i<“there>

2.5.4. Quality of the habitat

Question: There is a choice between ‘good’, ‘moderate’, ‘bad’ and ‘unknown’ in field 2.5.4.. Is the term ‘moderate’ equivalent to ‘inadequate’ in field 2.9.3? When making the final assessment on the basis of the Annex C Matrix, a Habitat for the species that is in favourable (green) status should be ‘sufficiently large’ AND of a ‘suitable’ quality, which means that the status mentioned at point 2.5.4 is ‘good’?

Reply (12/12/2012): In fact, these quality options in field 2.5.4. are not defined directly as you propose as it depends on the species in question. For example for a wolf, habitat quality may be ‘moderate’, but this is still ‘suitable quality’ for this species to qualify as FV (following the evaluation matrix). Thus, case-by-case interpretation is needed using the ecological knowledge on the species.

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.