The European Wilderness Society wants to share with our Wilderness advocates. This organisation launched a fundraising with the goal of saving a forest of 15 hectares in Umbria. The forest is facing a major threat, timber logging. Therefore, the Italian Forest Fund aims to crowdfund enough financial support to buy the forest and safeguard it against exploitation. This will allow the forest to regenerate and grow old, while the organisation will install an educational path along the road that currently cuts through the future Scheggino Natural Oasis.
Please also read: Italy can be a mediterranean kingdom of Wilderness
The Italian Forest Fund, in Italian called Fondo Forestale Italiano, is a non-profit organisation from 2018. The organisation has members, which are experts and professionals in botany, forestry and natural sciences. The goal is to acquire and protect existing forests, and purchase abandoned lands for reforestation. Through these so-called natural oases, the Fund aims to create a network of naturally developing forests.
In particular, Italian forests are under pressure. European policies favour exploitation over conservation. Additionally, a recently approved Italian law regarding forest management qualities forests only as a source of income. And also, the Italian State Forestry Corps is slowly disappearing. As a result, the Italian Forest Fund aims to raise awareness amongst the public, why the protection of the forests is so important.
Why the Scheggino forest?
This 15 hectare forest will be the first step towards the network of natural oases. This specific forest lies within a valley that connects the Mediterranean with the mountainous zone of Central Italy. It is therefore an important ecological corridor. The entire 15 hectares are owned by a single family, which makes the process easier. In many cases, heirs of families that owned the forests live elsewhere. Private forests are therefore divided into many smaller pieces, making purchase of a bigger area difficult.
Protecting local biodiversity
The Scheggino forest has the typical Italian coppice wood, a result of decades of logging. Many forests are like this young and degraded state. The coppice woods provide unfavourable habitats for the local fauna. Especially wolves, golden eagles and rare amphibians are home in this region. For example, the Apennine yellow-bellied toad needs wet and moist lands, which are now disappearing quickly.
When the Italian Forest Fund has crowdfunded enough financial support to secure the purchase of the 15 hectares, they will also recreate several favourable habitats for the amphibians. Along the public road, crossing the forest, they will install educational signs for people to learn about the Scheggino forest.
You can support the Italian Forest Fund, visit their crowdfunding page here.
We hope to expand our natural oases in the future, buying the surrounding areas one piece at a time.