In Europe the main precedents of this Directive are the
Directive 79/409/CEE, dated 2nd April 1979, relative to the conservation
of wild birds (included in the Habitats Directive),
The Habitats Directive is at present and together with the Directive 79/409/CEE, the most important tool applied to the whole of the European Community for the conservation of habitats, species and biodiversity.
In legislation applied in Spain, the Habitats Directive is applied through the Royal Decree of 1997/1995, dated 7th December, which stipulates measures that contribute to guarantee biodiversity by preserving the natural habitats of both flora and fauna.
Later on, the Council of European Communities approved the Directive 97/62/CE, dated 27th Ocotober 1997, and which adapted regulations of the Directive 92/43/CEE to scientific and technical advances. Basically, it consisted of improvement, modification and substitution of the annexes I and II of the Habitats Directive. In Spanish legislation this new directive which modified the Habitats Directive is applied through the Royal Decree1193/1998, dated 7th December, and which modifies the Decree of 1997/1995.
The overall aim of the Habitats Directive is to “contribute towards guaranteeing biodiversity by preserving the natural habitats of flora and fauna in the territory of European member states”.
In order to achieve this aim , one of the main goals of the Directive is to create an ecological and coherent European network of special areas of conservation called Natura 2000, in order to preserve the habitats and species.
Natura 2000 is made up of two types of areas:
ZEC areas are designated by member states in accordance with the Habitats Directive. Before this can be done, though, the Commission must first, and in agreement with the member states, classify proposed areas as specific areas as of Community Interest (SCI).
Posidonia fields constitute the most important marine ecosystems, sheltering a maximum diversity of species, where many fish of commercial value lay eggs and newly born fish thrive. Besides this, P. fields play a fundamental role in the conservation of coastline ecosystems as they prevent beach erosion, are the main source of sand sediment in the Balearics and contribute to maintaining the transparency of the water. The also play an important role in maintaining the fish population and the beach-dune systems that constitute one of the fundamental resources of the Balearic tourist industry.
For all of the above stated reasons it was decided to include Posidonia fields and classify them as Sites of Community Interest.