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Protecting Europe's nature: Learning from LIFE

Since its launch in 1992, the European Commission's LIFE Programme has generated a significant mass of knowledge concerning many different aspects of environmental activity. This information remains highly relevant as a learning resource for environmental stakeholders throughout the EU and in neighbouring countries. The LIFE Nature thematic conference "Protecting Europe's Nature: Learning from LIFE" covered a wide range of nature conservation issues during its three day programme from November 17-19 2008 in Brussels. Delegates from all over Europe attended the event which focused on tools and techniques for implementing the EU birds and habitats directives and the Natura 2000 network. The objective of the event was to discuss and codify the experience and knowledge gained during the life-time of recent projects. The thematic sessions provided a platform for a discussion on, and a dissemination of the results of, some successful projects. This will allow us to find transferable outcomes from projects and to mainstream good practice for the future implementation of LIFE+. The programme included plenary sessions examining the past, present and future role of LIFE Nature as a tool for implementing EU nature protection/biodiversity policy. A series of workshops allowed participants to discuss 'best practice' approaches to practical and policy based actions targeting forest, marine, river and grassland habitats, as well as focusing on climate change and invasive alien species. Other sessions featured LIFE experience in areas such as international cooperation on biodiversity protection and work addressing challenges linked to ensuring a favourable conservation status for Europe's species. This publication aims to give a flavour of some of the insights gained at the Conference.