The reference condition will be used to determine whether or not a form of damage exercises a considerable negative impact on reaching or maintaining the optimum state of conservation of species or natural habitats, taking into account the functions resulting from their perceived value and capacity for natural regeneration.
Whether or not the reference condition has undergone considerable negative changes, is determined by means of quantifiable data such as:
- the number of specimens, the population density or the surface area occupied;
- the role of individual specimens or of the damaged surface area in proportion to the species or the conservation of the habitat, the rarity of the species or the habitat as established at the local, regional, national or higher level, including Community level;
- the reproductive capability of the species according to the dynamic specific to this species or population, its viability or the natural regeneration capacity of the habitat according to the dynamic specific to the characteristic type of habitat or populations of that species;
- the capacity of the species or habitat to recover, once the damage has occurred, within a short period of time and without interventions other than the setting of more stringent protective measures, to a condition which, exclusively on the basis of the dynamic of that species or habitat, leads to a condition considered equivalent to or better than the reference condition.
Impact on human health is considered as a significant negative impact.
The following are not considered as a significant negative impact:
- negative fluctuations which are smaller than the normal average fluctuations of a particular species or habitat;
- negative fluctuations resulting from natural causes or as the result of interventions relating to the normal management of areas, as established in habitat dossiers or in documents in which the goals are set forth, or as previously exercised by the owners or operators;
- damage to species or habitats which are known to recover within a short period of time and without intervention, to the reference condition or to a condition which, exclusively on the basis of the dynamic of the species or habitat, leads to a condition which is considered equivalent to or better than the reference condition. “