Ecological connectivity between Alps and Apennines (Alps App project) running by Cooperative Sociale Eliante Onlus, Italy is an important cornerstone of Pan European Green Corridor Network (PEGNET) presented by European Wilderness Society.

This project aims to create functioning ecological connectivity between Alps and Apennines including the French region on Alps-Maritime and a portion of the Italian regions of Piemonte, Liguria, Lombardia, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany.

“This is an extremely important corridor for biodiversity, several species of animals but also an important site for reptiles and endemic flora. Apennine wolf story is the best example highlighting importance of this corridor.Wolf came back from Apennines to Alps using this passage and thanks to the permeability of this area, wolves with Apennine DNA are today spreading all around Europe.

Another great example is knowledge that the great part of the Short-toed Eagle (Snake Eagle) European population use for the migration a bottle-necks in this area (e.g.north of Genova). But the area is especially crucial also for the adaptation to climate changes. Several species are slowly changing distribution and habitats moving from Mediterranean ecoregion to the alpine one, claiming up on mountains slopes or moving north.

The river Po plain is not suitable for most of species, because of urbanisation, barriers and intensive agriculture. So the North-West passage is the only possible way for the adaptation of many species.  The quality of the management of this part of the Italian peninsula will condition the future and the survival of several, mainly Mediterranean species”,

said Mauro Belardi, coordinator of this project from Cooperativa Sociale Eliante Onlus  and he continues….

The AlpsApp project (as a part of) the WWF European Alpine Programme was co-financed by MAVA Foundation. The final project meeting took place in Genova (Italy) on May 23rd 2016 and the outcomes of this project includes a list of priority conservation areas.

These have been proposed and mapped through expert-based approach and potential corridors have been indicated. A list of 22 critical barriers have been identified and mapped. A Manifesto for the future of this area was produced and spread to stakeholders for supporting and lobby against main threats (urbanisation, new roads, new wind farms).

Also a conservation plan of the area is under preparation and it will be likely approved by the local scientific community. A list of potential local projects in the field will be selected the next year and the year 2017 will be dedicated to fundraising activity for a future implementation of the plan. The long term strategy for conservation includes the establishment of a local subjects for the implementation of the the Corridor, with the aim to link all local actors interested in the future of the area.

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Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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