Integrated MAnagement and Grant Investments for the N2000 NEtwork in Umbria – LIFE19 IPE/IT/000015

Background

The LIFE IMAGINE Umbria Integrated Project was proposed and financed on the basis of the results obtained from the LIFE SUN project, concluded in 2018, aimed at developing and implementing a Strategy for the management of the entire Natura 2000 network of the Umbria Region, consisting of 102 Natura 2000 sites.

The two main results of the project were: a regional strategy that sets objectives and measures to be adopted and the related financial plan for the entire European ecological network Natura 2000 – established to ensure the long-term maintenance of natural habitats and flora and fauna threatened or rare; the framework of priority actions (PAF).

The path started with LIFE SUN allowed to move to the next phase and submit the application to the European Commission for the implementation of the strategy and the PAF.

Project description

LIFE IMAGINE Umbria implements an integrated, unitary, coordinated and participatory management strategy in order to guarantee, on the basis of the contents of the PAF, the achievement of the conservation objectives established in the Habitats and Birds Directives, thus contributing to the regional development objectives.

LIFE IMAGINE Umbria is a long-lasting strategic project (7 years), which will allow the investment of significant resources (15,664,975 euros, of which 9,398,100 euros as co-financing by the European Union) for the enhancement of the Natura 2000 of biodiversity in Umbria. The aim is also to mobilize other funds in a synergistic way to achieve the expected results: EAFRD, ERDF, EMFF will be complementary funds of the project, for a total of 26 million euros.

Specific project objectives are to:

  • Improve governance and management models of the Natura 2000 regional network, including through capacity building;
  • Maintain and improve the conservation status of habitats and species;
  • Raise awareness and provide information on the value / potential of regional Natura 2000 areas;
  • Monitor the environmental, social and economic impacts of the project’s actions in achieving the objectives of the PAF.

These will be achieved through:

  • The improvement of the skills and know-how of all individuals involved in the management of the Natura 2000 Network (Umbria Region and local authorities, agriculture and hunting, volunteering, associations, experts).
  • The evaluation of the current governance models of the sites, the identification and application of innovative models: payments for ecosystem services, territorial development, landscape, gate agreements, actions directed at communities within the crater of the August 24, 2016 earthquake.
  • Harmonization of Natura 2000 legislation and assessment procedures.
  • The design and implementation of interventions to improve the conservation status of habitats and species of community interest present in the Region, in particular: aquatic ecosystems, grassland and pasture habitats, invertebrates, bats, amphibians, reptiles, birds, large carnivores, fish.
  • Interventions aimed at improving ecological connections.
  • The control of invasive alien species also through targeted eradication interventions;
  • The definition of a general communication strategy that links the communication for each action, in order to improve knowledge about the Natura 2000 network, habitats and species, conservation threats, best practices, etc.
  • Environmental education actions for children and young people, teachers and educators;
  • Design and implementation of strategies that encourage the sustainable use of the Natura 2000 network also through the development of “green jobs”.
  • Verification of the impact of project actions on the conservation status of habitats and species, on the socio-economic component, and verification of the contribution of the project in the implementation of the PAF.

Partners

Umbria Region; Regional Forest Agency; Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology – University of Perugia; Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences – University of Perugia; SAAD – University of Camerino, Department of Civil, Construction-Architectural and Environmental Engineering; University of L’Aquila; Department of Veterinary Medicine – University of Sassari; Studio Naturalistico Hyla; Comunità Ambiente Srl; Sibillini National Park.

Duration 01/10/2020 – 30/09/2027