“World Wetlands Day”: the results of Italian projects implementing wetlands conservation actions are available on the “Knowledge Platform”

Best practices collected in the Knowledge Platform on wetlands conservation actions2nd February - “World Wetlands Day” is celebrated today. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Italy ratified and enforced the Convention under Presidential Decree n.448 of 13th March 1976 and Presidential Decree n.184 of 11th February 1987.

The so-called Ramsar Convention’s mission is the conservation of wetlands of international importance through their designation, the investigation of their key aspects, especially avifauna, and the implementation of programmes on the protection of habitats, flora and fauna.

Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction” is the theme for World Wetlands Day in 2017. In fact wetlands, amongst many other examples, play an important role in reducing the impact of extreme weather events.

The “Knowledge Platform” collects some Italian projects implemented under European programmes managed directly by the Commission and addressing issues related to the conservation of wetlands, including  7 projects co-financed by LIFE programme.

Through the “SAVE THE FLYERS” project 22 wetlands were requalified or created in two areas of central Italy (20 within the Monte Amiata area and 2 in the Frasassi National Park): wetlands are important watering areas for bats and increase prey availability. Moreover, the actions implemented to requalify or to create wetlands allow farmers to use wider areas for sheep grazing and this, at the same time, favour the conservation of wider open areas useful for bats foraging activities.

The results of  “SCI d’acqua”  project include the requalification of 3 wetlands (Laghi Ombrone, Pantanelle and Bogaia) and the surrounding areas for the conservation of target species of birds and amphibians within the upper- Apennine area and the plains surrounding Prato, through the creation of specific micro habitats and planting tree species.

Under the “Re.S.C.We.” project it was possible to recovery a complex system of coastal wetlands within the Sentina Natural Reserve (San Benedetto del Tronto), with clear benefits for amphibians and migratory birds, ensuring a satisfactory state of conservation of natural habitats and species of wild fauna and flora of Community interest.

Through the reactivation of 4 minor wetlands for the reproduction of amphibians and reptiles (located at Parco della Murgia Matera) by means of natural engineering techniques combined with modern bio-compatible construction materials, “ARUPA” project has allowed the requirements of preserving landscape and its historical and cultural aspects to be combined with those of species conservation.

Through the implementation of “ECORICE” project in the area of Vercelli has been realized 1.60 hectares of new wetlands only in the rice-growing environment, reconstituted 5 hectares of marsh areas and re-naturalized about 2 km of irrigation canals with the planting of new tree-shrub rural hedges and over 1 hectare of new shrubs and trees.

REWETLAND led to the realization in the area of Agro Pontino of 4 pilot projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of phytopurification in the reduction of the pollutant loads in the wastewater from urban and agricultural waste. In particular, the aim of the interventions included in the pilot project “Filter ecosystem in the Circeo National Park”, in addition to testing of the purifying capacity of particular vegetable mix, was to enhance local biodiversity by creating artificial wetlands (wetlands that reproduce marsh ecosystems).

Among the most important actions of RESILFOR project for the recovery of dominant beech forests with Abies alba in the Tuscan-Marche Apennines there are interventions aimed at increasing forest biodiversity, such as the creation of 10 wetlands for amphibians (Bombina and Salamander).