Wilderness Stewardship in Majella Wilderness

The 15 960 ha Majella Wilderness zone is located in the core zone of the Majella National Park, located in the southern Abruzzo Region in Central Italy. Majella Wilderness is home to some of the most impressive, wild and extensive mountain ranges of the Apennines. The Wilderness combines forest and mountain ecosystems reaching up to 2 793 m at its highest peak Mt. Amaro. Majella Wilderness zone is located about 170 km east of Rome.

The Majella Wilderness zone represents an outstanding example of wild and naturally rewilding mountain and forest ecosystems in the Mediterranean. The area has a high biodiversity hosting numerous rare, endangered and endemic species. Majella Wilderness contains a large genetic reservoir on which many species populations depend on.

The Majella Wilderness zone is an area of great international importance and a regional and Europe-wide hotspot for biodiversity, which depends on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. It contains representatives of flora and fauna typical for the Apennine Mountains.

Please also ready: Re-Audit Of Majella Wilderness

Management of the Majella National Park

The management of the Majella National Park has advanced Wilderness stewardship, including strict non-intervention management, a zoning system, maps, ecological corridors to the surrounded areas, a Wilderness focused communication concept as well as Wilderness focused research, monitoring, and seminars.

Majella National Park has a committed management team which is led by a director who strongly supports the Wilderness concept. The park management has a strong Wilderness vision. Because of this, their work focuses on maintaining and increasing the quality of Majella Wilderness.

The Majella National Park is an internationally significant institution for science and research in nature protection. It receives financing from the EU and state budget.

Management of Majella Wilderness

Non-intervention management and natural spontaneous restoration are the main objectives of the stewardship concept of the Majella Wilderness. The creation of a core zone with non-intervention management has been an objective since the beginning of Majella National Park. This approach has been fully reconfirmed during the last Re-Audit mission and is in line with the European Wilderness concept.

Non-intervention management is still not a very common management approach in this area. However, the abandonment of areas that were previously used for forestry or agricultural activities opened up opportunities for non-intervention management. These areas in Majella Wilderness are able to rewild and restore in a natural way without human intervention. Therefore Majella Wilderness is a great example to underline the power of nature to restore itself if granted enough time and space. The European Wilderness Society and the European Wilderness Network support this process by providing technical and communication support, alongside international credit and visibility.

Due to the commitment of the entire management team, Majella Wilderness became a partner of the PAN Parks Network in 2005. It then transferred to the European Wilderness Network in 2014. Since then, the management has been working closely with the European Wilderness Society on contributing to Wilderness protection.

Protection status

The Majella National Park is protected as a National Park according to the IUCN category II. It became a National Park in 1991, and falls under the authority of the Ministry of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea.

Uniqueness of Majella Wilderness

Majella National Park has already been subject to a European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. This Re-Audit in summer 2018 of Majella Wilderness extends the area’s membership in the European Wilderness Network for another ten years. Majella Wilderness is a unique example of Wilderness in the Mediterranean region, and provides a motivation and example for other Wilderness stewards.

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Vlado Vancura

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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