- selected and designated according to the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), Special Areas of
Conservation are wildlife Conservation areas with importance on an Irish and a European level.
SACs may often overlap with SPAs.
- selected and designated according to the EU Birds Directive (79/409/EEC), Special Protection
Areas are areas of importance to rare and migratory birds which are vulnerable to pollution or
habitat deterioration. Our some 121 SPAs form part of 3000 European sites, an initiative to protect
birds at all stages: breeding, feeding, roosting and wintering. SPAs may often overlap with SACs.
- Natural Heritage Areas are areas considered important due to the presence of a special habitat or
a species therein. In an effort to safeguard such areas, they are legally protected from damage under
the Wildlife Amendment Act (2000).
- Nature Reserve
- an area of wildlife importance protected by ministerial order.
- the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) is an intergovernmental
treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the Conservation
and sustainable use of wetlands and their resources. There are 1910 Ramsar sites worldwide,
covering 186,948,620 hectares. There are 45 sites in Ireland.
- Natura 2000
- established under the 1992 Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), Natura 2000 is an EU-wide initiative to
safeguard vulnerable habitats and species. It comprises both SACs and SPAs.
- Refuge for Fauna
- a ministerially protected area designated in an effort to conserve both species and their habitats.
- Wildfowl Sanctuary
- areas excluded from the Open Season Order. Shooting of birds is prohibited.
- Biogenetic reserve
- designated by the Council of Europe, these are areas considered valuable in terms of European nature conservation.
- recognised by UNESCO, these are areas designated in an effort to integrate the interests of Conservation,
sustainable development, research and education
- World Heritage Site
- areas of outstanding universal value, as designated by UNESCO
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are landscapes of such natural beauty as to be in the nation's interest
that they are protected. 8 AONBs exist in Northern Ireland.
- Areas of Specific Scientific Interest are mostly in private ownership, and the conservation of such areas is
achieved through cooperation with landowners.
- Tree Preservation Orders can be used for a single tree, a group of trees, or a woodland. Such trees cannot
be felled unless the TPO is appealed to An Bord Pleanala.