LIFE ESC360 - 360 Volunteers for monitoring forest biodiversity in the Italian Natura 2000 Network0 Reviews
The aim of the project is to create opportunities for 360 young people of the European Solidarity Corps, by working on the monitoring of protected habitats and species in State Owned Reserves in Italy. Moreover, the project will generate important data for the management of the reserves and for the reporting under the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. The volunteers will acquire knowledge and skills on species, habitats and conservation actions in Natura 2000 sites. The specific objectives are: i) to generate a significant improvement of monitoring data for selected habitats and species in the selected study areas; ii) to make standardized biodiversity monitoring methods available to the target State Owned Reserves.
The project wants to address the following issues: 1) In 2016 the standardized methods for monitoring the species listed in the Annexes of Habitats Directive were published in Italy, but poor data are available from their application. The lack of information is also found within the State Owned Reserves network. 2) There is a need for training young naturalists, that have mainly a theoretical background, to field activities focused on the monitoring of protected species and habitats. The study areas of the project are divided in three macro-areas: i) Nature Reserve Bosco Fontana located in northern Italy (Po plain area); ii) Nature Reserves Casentinesi, in central-northern Italy (Appennines area); iii) Nature Reserves in Abruzzo and Molise, located in central-southern Italy (Appennines area). Overall, 22 Natura 2000 sites are involved (7 designated under Bird Directive, 13 under Habitats Directive and 2 under both the directives). Monitoring activities of protected habitat and species are carried out by volunteers with the assistance of professional staff. Volunteers are engaged for a period of 2 months, including a one-week intensive training course. An expected long term result of the project is the contribution to create a standard monitoring system in Natural State Owned Reserves. Volunteers are also asked to organize and manage dissemination events for the public in which they can use their personal skills.