SCI, SAC, SPAs. What do they mean?


There are two different typologies of sites in the Natura 2000 network: Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).


The SPAs are designated under the  Birds Directive 79/409/CEE and they are strategic suitable areas for the protection of the most threatened birds species. The BirdLife International project, called Important Bird Areas (IBA), was the scientific reference point to institute the SPAs. The selected strategic areas are extremely important for the protection of birds, as they are specific areas connected to their reproduction, nutrition or migration.

A SAC is designated under the Habitats Directive 92/43/CEE and it is quite articulate:

Natura 2000 sites are selected on the basis of national lists proposed by the Member States. For each biogeographical region the Commission adopts a list of Sites of Community Importance (SCI) which then become part of the network. Finally, the SCI are designated at the national level as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).

Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) aim to the preservation of natural and semi-natural habitats which are commonly interesting for their rarity and their primordial and ecological role.


Rete Natura in Italy

In Italy, Rete Natura 2000 is composed of 2314 Sites of Community Importance (SCI), whose 403 have been designated as SAC, and  whose 610 as Special protection areas (SPAs).

Overall, inside the Natura 2000 sites 131 habitats, 89 species of flora and 111 species of fauna( whose 21 are mammals,  11 reptiles, 16 amphibians 25 fish, 38 invertebrates) are protected under the Habitats Directive and 387 species of avifauna are protected under the Birds Directive.

In Golfo di Gela, Natura 2000 network comprises:

ITA050001 “Biviere e Macconi di Gela”

ITA050011 “Torre Manfria”

ITA050012 “Torre Manfria, Biviere e Piana di Gela”

ITA050007 “Sughereta di Niscemi”

ITA070005 “Bosco di Santo Pietro”