Nature and landscape conservation are of particular importance in the region. The Wachau became a landscape conservation area in 1955, has been awarded by the Council of Europe with the European Diploma for Protected Areas since 1994 and recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000. In 1972, the area around the Jauerling was designated the Jauerling-Wachau Nature Park. The Wachau is part of the Europe-wide conservation network Natura 2000 (Habitats Directive, Birds Directive). The goal of Natura 2000 is to conserve the most valuable natural habitats as well as animal and plant species.