The term LIFE stands for L’Instrument Financier pour l’Environnement (finance instrument for the environment). LIFE is the European Union’s funding programme to support environmental and climate protection projects in the EU. There is a sub-programme “Nature and Biodiversity” within the LIFE programme that is especially dedicated to the conservation and development of biodiversity, species and habitats. The focus is on the NATURA 2000 areas (see below).
Natura 2000 is the name for a European network of protected areas aimed at conserving particularly valuable and endangered habitats or species. It is supposed to contribute to the conservation of biological diversity and includes areas in every EU member state. The elements of this network are FFH areas (according to the Flora + Fauna Habitat Directive) and European Bird Protection Areas (according to the Bird Protection Directive). In Germany, these areas are mostly protected as nature conservation areas.