Monitoring of insects with public participation LIFE11 NAT/IT/000252

Background
Italy still lacks of monitoring standards to estimate changes in population sizes, threat levels and conservation status of insect species contained in annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive. Without standard monitoring procedures it will be impossible to evaluate the future development of the conservation status of the known populations. There are no monitoring standards for the target insect species (*Osmoderma eremita s.l., Lucanus cervus, Cerambyx cerdo, *Rosalia alpina, Morimus funereus) found in four reserves included in the ‘MIPP’ project.

Project description
Aim of MIPP is to further develop the methods used for the surveillance of the conservation status of a number of insect species (*Osmoderma eremita s.l., Lucanus cervus, Cerambyx cerdo, *Rosalia alpina, Morimus funereus) listed in the annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive, as only a reliable and repeatable standard for monitoring allows to estimate population size, threat level and conservation status of protected species and to distinguish real changes from natural variation. The project will test the methods mainly in four reserves, managed by the National Forest Service, Biodiversity Office, Rome. These are integral part of the Italian Natura 2000 network (SCIs and SPAs), managed by the National Forest Service and the data gathered will be an important component for the monitoring of the above species in Italy. One tool of these activities will be “Osmo-dog”, a dog which has been trained to find *Osmoderma eremita by its scent.
The development of the protocols will be accompanied by staff of the region Lombardy and will be approved by the regional (Lombardy) observatory for biodiversity and these protocols will be provided to all the Italian Regions, responsible for monitoring on their respective territory.
A voluntary internet based survey system for the collection of faunistic data will be implemented for target species of insects (Lucanus cervus, *Rosalia alpina, Cerambyx cerdo, *Osmoderma eremita, Lopinga achine, Parnassius apollo, Saga pedo, Zerynthia polyxena) included in the Annexes of the Habitats Directive. This will be allowed also through the development of an application for smartphones.
The project will inform and educate the public on the issues related to Natura 2000, Habitats Directive, Monitoring, Saproxylic insects, etc.

Specific project objectives are to:
• Test the method and develop an official protocol for the surveillance of the conservation status of a number of insect also to contribute to the production of the National Report on the implementation of the Habitats Directive. Such a protocol is the only reliable standard for estimating population size, threat level and conservation status;
• Implement a voluntary internet based survey system for the collection of faunistic data on the target species of insects;
• Disseminate and attract media attention to the project and to the topics related to Natura 2000, nature conservation, saproxylic insects, Habitats Directive.

This will be achieved through:
• Production of a draft protocol, with a standard monitoring system for target insect populations (*Osmoderma eremita s.l., Lucanus cervus, Cerambyx cerdo, *Rosalia alpina, and Morimus funereus);
• Approval and inclusion of the protocol in the Regional Directives;
• Creation of a website (www.cnbfvr.life-insectmonitor.eu) for the collection of data on eight target species of insects included in the annexes of the Habitats Directive;
• Drafting of monitoring guidelines;
• Publication in international scientific journals of results of data analyses.

Partners
Corpo Forestale dello Stato, Centro Nazionale per lo Studio e la Conservazione della Biodiversità Forestale “Bosco Fontana”, Università di Roma “La Sapienza” – Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie “Charles Darwin”, Università degli Studi Roma Tre – Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale, Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare, Dir. Gen. Protezione Natura Regione Lombardia, Consiglio per la Ricerca e la Sperimentazione in Agricoltura – CRA.

Duration
October 2012 – September 2017

Project website
http://lifemipp.eu/mipp/new/index.jsp?language=en_US