A recently carried out Re-Audit of Majella Wilderness, located in Majella National Park in Central Italy, reviewed the Wilderness quality of this first Wilderness in the Mediterranean. Our colleagues not only audited the Wilderness quality in the field but also the Wilderness stewardship of the management team. Topics like changes of the Wilderness borders and size as well as traditional uses in the surrounding areas of Majella Wilderness have been discussed.
Please also ready: Italy’s Wildest Places in Majella Wilderness
Re-auditing Majella Wilderness in the field
Several field trips accompanied by members of the National Park management offered opportunities to collect information on the quality and stewardship of Majella Wilderness. During two excursions to the Orfento valley the auditors took a closer look on the dens and partially old-growth mixed beech forests. Hiking to a rewilding beech forest in Lama Bianca the auditors discussed adaptations of the borders of the Wilderness. Giuseppe Marcantonio from the park management accompanied these informative hikes. Valter Di Cecco and Angelo Pietropaolo, both botanists, showed the auditors a rare remnant of primeval old-growth black pine forest. This unique forest in a steep cliff hosts up to 700 year old black pine trees together with oak and beech. This excursion offered numerous opportunities to talk about inhereted traditional uses of this area. In particular sheep grazing and water extraction. This area also showed impressive signs of natural dynamic processes such as avalanches.
A hike up Monte Porrone with Giampiero Ciaschetti, botanist, offered a good overview of the southern part of Majella Wilderness. This excursion also gave the auditors a better understading of the extensive research activities of the National Park. The auditors stayed overnight in a bivouac on Monte Amaro to get an overview of the northern part of Majella Wilderness. This enabled them to audit the highest part of Majella Wilderness. The auditors also discussed the management of the bivouacs and cabins in the Wilderness.
Discussing Wilderness Stewardship
Meetings with the director, Oremo Di Nino, and numerous dicussions with employees of Majella National Park proved the strong Wilderness support of the management team. The management puts particular emphasis on increasing the quality of Majella Wilderness. This resulted in an update of the zonation of the Wilderness. The currently developed Re-Audit Report will analyse the findings and developments in Majella Wilderness.
After the Re-Audit of Majella Wilderness the European Wilderness Society auditors also visited Sirente-Velino Regional Park. The auditors used this short visit to get a first impression of potential Wilderness there. This neighbouring protected area hosts similar ecosystems like Majella Wilderness but has a different protection status. In particular the public awareness for Wilderness is not as strong as it is in Majella National Park. However, there is a potetial area fulfilling the European Wilderness Quality Standard. Furthermore, the management of Sirente-Velino Regional Park is very dedicated to the Wilderness concept. Due to these findings, Velino Wilderness in Sirente-Velino Regional Park will become a partner of the European Wilderness Network.
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