The European Natura 2000 Award aims to raise awareness about good practice in the network of EU protected nature sites known as Natura 2000. In order to share examples of good practice within the network, the Benchmarking Report provides an analysis of successful Award applications of 2016, particularly but not exclusively the award winners and the shortlisted applications. The report reveals recurrent traits of good practice ("elements of success") and uses them to structure the catalogue of good practice that forms the core of the report. The report concludes with an outlook section which addresses the use of the report's findings, and identifies room for further development in future rounds of the award. The report is targeted mainly at the Natura 2000 community, including past and potential future applicants to the scheme. It is also intended as an instrument for the exchange of innovative ideas between the project teams that submitted proposals to the award, or inspiration for those who plan to do so in the future.