This volume reports the data contained in the 3rd Report of the Habitat Directive, for the period 2007-2012, including all the assessments made on the conservation status of the species and habitats of community interest recorded in Italy. The report is freely accessible at the Central Data Repository (http://bd.eionet.europa.eu/activities/Reporting/Article_17); all data are also available on a dedicated website created by ISPRA (www.sinanet.isprambiente.it/Reporting_Dir_Habitat). Italy is particularly rich in biological diversity, both in terms of species and habitats; in fact the country hosts 113 plant species of community interest, 225 animal species, and 132 habitats protected by the Habitat Directive. Considering that the territory of Italy comprises three biogeographical regions (Alpine, Continental, and Mediterranean) and the Mediterranean marine region, the number of assessments required by the reporting obligations of the Habitat Directive is particularly high. Italy, together with France, is in fact the European state with the highest number of habitats of community interest, and one of the countries with the highest number of species included in the Directive, together with Greece for what concerns animal species, and Spain and Portugal for plants. The particularly rich biodiversity of Italy, and the particularly high rate of endemism, are partly due to the peculiar history of the country, that has been interested by moderated effects of the quaternary glaciations, and indeed also by the high variety of environments characterising the Italian territory. The very high number of species and habitats of community interest, combined with the particularly severe level of pressures affecting the country – that has one of the highest population densities in Europe – indeed underlines the particular responsibility of Italy in terms of protection of the biodiversity of the European Union, and stresses the importance of ensuring an adequate monitoring of the species and habitats of the country. To prepare the 3rd Report, the Italian Ministry of Environment has promoted an active collaboration among the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), the Regions and Autonomous Provinces, and the main national scientific societies. ISPRA has coordinated the technical and scientific aspects of the task, working in strict coordination with the regional and provincial authorities and the scientific societies. It must be stressed that the Regions and Autonomous Provinces have put in place an extraordinary effort for this reporting, producing 1,940 assessments for the animal species, 358 for the plants, and 1,126 for the habitats. Altogether the regional authorities have produced 2,926 distribution maps. ISPRA has then compiled all this information, integrating additional data provided by the most relevant scientific societies. This work has been carried out in a series of workshops, where all data has been discussed with leading national experts of the different taxonomic groups, that have reviewed all information, compiled updated distribution maps for each individual biogeographical regions, and produced assessments of the conservation status for each species and habitat. Maps and assessments have then been reviewed by the Ministry of Environment in contact with the Regions and Autonomous Provinces, also taking into account the database of the Nature 2000 framework in order to reduce inconsistencies between the two information systems. This complex process enabled the production of 572 reporting formats, 635 distribution and range maps for the species, 291 reporting formats and 262 distribution maps for the habitats. The results of the 3rd report for the Habitat Directive 2007-2012 show positive and negative aspects. About half of all species assessments (50% for plants, 51% for animal species) indicate a negative conservation status (inadequate or bad), and the situation is worse for habitats, 27% of which are in a bad conservation status and 40% are considered in an inadequate conservation status. These percentages are also largely reflected in the future perspectives. Fourteen plant species are in a bad conservation status, with a particularly negative situation in the Mediterranean region. The deterioration of the situation compared to the previous reporting may reflect an improvement of the level of knowledge, but at least for some cases it does reflect a worsening of the conservation status of species. The data included in the report confirms the particularly critical conditions of freshwater and coastal habitats, that are particularly vulnerable to human pressures. Also the conservation status of animal species appears critical; of the overall number of assessments, 18% indicate a bad conservation status, and 15% have bad future perspectives. There is indeed an increase in the level of information, highlighted for example by the reduction of the non assessed forms for animal species, down from 16% in the previous reporting, to 7% for the 2007-2012 period. The improved knowledge base enables us to confirm that the overall conservation status of animal species of community interest in Italy is not good (33% inadequate, 18% bad), and has not changed much since the previous report (34% and 19% respectively). This situation is due to the persistence of human pressure, such as the unsustainable harvesting of several species of invertebrates, and the impact caused by the introduction of non native species for the freshwater fish community. As for habitats, a predominance of negative contexts has been recorded for the forest ecosystems. Coastal sand dunes and inland dunes are the habitats most at risk in the country, together with raised bogs. It must be said that the situation is more positive where habitats of human origin are concerned, such as semi-natural meadows and chestnut forests. The main pressures affecting species and habitats in Italy are due to changes driven by human action, in particular inadequate agricultural and forestry practises, urbanisation, and ecosystem modifications caused by man. The introduction of invasive alien species is a major pressure mainly to freshwater fishes and crustaceans, but also for plants and habitats, and it is a key cause of extinction. Pollution and arson are also significant pressures to habitats. The ongoing climate change has not emerged as a major threat, but this seems due to the still unclear synergies between this factor and other key pressures such as habitat loss, improper land planning, urbanisation and realization of infrastructures. Despite the significant advances in terms of knowledge, there are still information gaps for a high number of species and habitats. Filling these gaps would require long-term monitoring programs, that are still quite scarce in the country. It would seem urgent to expand research and monitoring activities, in particular to address some key aspects, such as a quantified favourable conservation status. A positive result of this cycle of reporting is indeed the increased harmonisation of the data compiled for Italy, for example in terms of distribution maps, that can allow a much better comparison with data collected in other Member States. Furthermore, the positive collaboration established between the Ministry of Environment, ISPRA, the Regional and Provincial authorities, and the scientific societies, provides a model for further improvements of the monitoring of Italian biodiversity. The work process established for the Reporting 2007-2012 may be a basis for eventually developing a national monitoring scheme, based on a coordinated system of data collection and evaluation, as required by the Habitat Directive. In this regard, it is important to highlight that the recent adoption of the National Biodiversity Strategy, the establishment of a National Biodiversity Observatory, the setting up of the network of Regional Biodiversity Observatories, and the implementation of the Biodiversity National Network indeed provide a unique opportunity for developing a coordinated national approach to biodiversity monitoring and conservation.

4. Habitat

SPAMPINATO, Giovanni;
2014

Abstract

This volume reports the data contained in the 3rd Report of the Habitat Directive, for the period 2007-2012, including all the assessments made on the conservation status of the species and habitats of community interest recorded in Italy. The report is freely accessible at the Central Data Repository (http://bd.eionet.europa.eu/activities/Reporting/Article_17); all data are also available on a dedicated website created by ISPRA (www.sinanet.isprambiente.it/Reporting_Dir_Habitat). Italy is particularly rich in biological diversity, both in terms of species and habitats; in fact the country hosts 113 plant species of community interest, 225 animal species, and 132 habitats protected by the Habitat Directive. Considering that the territory of Italy comprises three biogeographical regions (Alpine, Continental, and Mediterranean) and the Mediterranean marine region, the number of assessments required by the reporting obligations of the Habitat Directive is particularly high. Italy, together with France, is in fact the European state with the highest number of habitats of community interest, and one of the countries with the highest number of species included in the Directive, together with Greece for what concerns animal species, and Spain and Portugal for plants. The particularly rich biodiversity of Italy, and the particularly high rate of endemism, are partly due to the peculiar history of the country, that has been interested by moderated effects of the quaternary glaciations, and indeed also by the high variety of environments characterising the Italian territory. The very high number of species and habitats of community interest, combined with the particularly severe level of pressures affecting the country – that has one of the highest population densities in Europe – indeed underlines the particular responsibility of Italy in terms of protection of the biodiversity of the European Union, and stresses the importance of ensuring an adequate monitoring of the species and habitats of the country. To prepare the 3rd Report, the Italian Ministry of Environment has promoted an active collaboration among the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), the Regions and Autonomous Provinces, and the main national scientific societies. ISPRA has coordinated the technical and scientific aspects of the task, working in strict coordination with the regional and provincial authorities and the scientific societies. It must be stressed that the Regions and Autonomous Provinces have put in place an extraordinary effort for this reporting, producing 1,940 assessments for the animal species, 358 for the plants, and 1,126 for the habitats. Altogether the regional authorities have produced 2,926 distribution maps. ISPRA has then compiled all this information, integrating additional data provided by the most relevant scientific societies. This work has been carried out in a series of workshops, where all data has been discussed with leading national experts of the different taxonomic groups, that have reviewed all information, compiled updated distribution maps for each individual biogeographical regions, and produced assessments of the conservation status for each species and habitat. Maps and assessments have then been reviewed by the Ministry of Environment in contact with the Regions and Autonomous Provinces, also taking into account the database of the Nature 2000 framework in order to reduce inconsistencies between the two information systems. This complex process enabled the production of 572 reporting formats, 635 distribution and range maps for the species, 291 reporting formats and 262 distribution maps for the habitats. The results of the 3rd report for the Habitat Directive 2007-2012 show positive and negative aspects. About half of all species assessments (50% for plants, 51% for animal species) indicate a negative conservation status (inadequate or bad), and the situation is worse for habitats, 27% of which are in a bad conservation status and 40% are considered in an inadequate conservation status. These percentages are also largely reflected in the future perspectives. Fourteen plant species are in a bad conservation status, with a particularly negative situation in the Mediterranean region. The deterioration of the situation compared to the previous reporting may reflect an improvement of the level of knowledge, but at least for some cases it does reflect a worsening of the conservation status of species. The data included in the report confirms the particularly critical conditions of freshwater and coastal habitats, that are particularly vulnerable to human pressures. Also the conservation status of animal species appears critical; of the overall number of assessments, 18% indicate a bad conservation status, and 15% have bad future perspectives. There is indeed an increase in the level of information, highlighted for example by the reduction of the non assessed forms for animal species, down from 16% in the previous reporting, to 7% for the 2007-2012 period. The improved knowledge base enables us to confirm that the overall conservation status of animal species of community interest in Italy is not good (33% inadequate, 18% bad), and has not changed much since the previous report (34% and 19% respectively). This situation is due to the persistence of human pressure, such as the unsustainable harvesting of several species of invertebrates, and the impact caused by the introduction of non native species for the freshwater fish community. As for habitats, a predominance of negative contexts has been recorded for the forest ecosystems. Coastal sand dunes and inland dunes are the habitats most at risk in the country, together with raised bogs. It must be said that the situation is more positive where habitats of human origin are concerned, such as semi-natural meadows and chestnut forests. The main pressures affecting species and habitats in Italy are due to changes driven by human action, in particular inadequate agricultural and forestry practises, urbanisation, and ecosystem modifications caused by man. The introduction of invasive alien species is a major pressure mainly to freshwater fishes and crustaceans, but also for plants and habitats, and it is a key cause of extinction. Pollution and arson are also significant pressures to habitats. The ongoing climate change has not emerged as a major threat, but this seems due to the still unclear synergies between this factor and other key pressures such as habitat loss, improper land planning, urbanisation and realization of infrastructures. Despite the significant advances in terms of knowledge, there are still information gaps for a high number of species and habitats. Filling these gaps would require long-term monitoring programs, that are still quite scarce in the country. It would seem urgent to expand research and monitoring activities, in particular to address some key aspects, such as a quantified favourable conservation status. A positive result of this cycle of reporting is indeed the increased harmonisation of the data compiled for Italy, for example in terms of distribution maps, that can allow a much better comparison with data collected in other Member States. Furthermore, the positive collaboration established between the Ministry of Environment, ISPRA, the Regional and Provincial authorities, and the scientific societies, provides a model for further improvements of the monitoring of Italian biodiversity. The work process established for the Reporting 2007-2012 may be a basis for eventually developing a national monitoring scheme, based on a coordinated system of data collection and evaluation, as required by the Habitat Directive. In this regard, it is important to highlight that the recent adoption of the National Biodiversity Strategy, the establishment of a National Biodiversity Observatory, the setting up of the network of Regional Biodiversity Observatories, and the implementation of the Biodiversity National Network indeed provide a unique opportunity for developing a coordinated national approach to biodiversity monitoring and conservation.
978-88-448-0644-6
Habitat; Monitoraggio; Italy
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