Abstract The proliferation of designated areas following the implementation of Natura 2000 in Greece has initiated changes in the protected area design and conservation policy making aiming at delivering action for biodiversity and integrative planning on a wider landscape. Following the sustainability concept, an integrative approach cannot realistically take place simply by extending the protected area and designations. The paper addresses public involvement and inter-sectoral coordination as major procedural elements of integrative management and evaluates the nature and strength of their negative or positive influences on the fulfillment of an integrative vision of nature conservation. A review of the history of protected areas and administration developments in Greece provide useful input in the research. The analysis has shown that the selected network of Natura 2000 sites has been superimposed upon the existing system and resulted in duplication of administrative effort and related legislation. As a result the overall picture of protected areas in the country appears complex, confusing and fragmented. Major failures to integrated conservation perspective can be traced to structural causes rooted in politico-economic power structures of mainstream policy and in a rather limited political commitment to conservation. It is concluded that greater realisation of integrated conservation in Greece necessitates policy reforms related mainly to sectoral legal frameworks to promote environmentalism as well as an increased effort by the managing authorities to facilitate a broader framework of public dialogue and give local communities incentives to sustainably benefit from protected areas.