Nature Integrated Management to 2020 – LIFE14 IPE/IT/000018

Background
The GESTIRE project launched in 2012, highlighted the critical issues for biodiversity conservation in Lombardy, the opportunities for improving the management of the Regional Natura 2000 Network and the priority actions to ensure the attainment of the conservation objectives set out in Habitats and Birds Directives through the regional Prioritised Action framework (PAF).
The process started with GESTIRE, which shared the strategy with all the managing bodies of the Natura 2000 network in Lombardy, has allowed to take the next step: to submit GESTIRE 2020 project to the European Commission for the implementation of the strategy. GESTIRE 2020 is one of the first three “Nature” integrated projects funded in the EU.

Project description
GESTIRE 2020 aims to ensure the objectives set out in the Habitats and Birds Directives, on the basis of the contents of the Regional Prioritised Action Framework (PAF), and to contribute to the improvement of the Natura 2000 network management skills.
GESTIRE 2020 is a strategic project, which allows the investment of significant resources (€ 17,345,496, including a 10,004,210 contribution from the European Union) for the improvement of the Natura 2000 network in Lombardy. The novelty of GESTIRE 2020, in addition to the financial availability and the long-term duration (8 years), is the integration of funds and policies to achieve the planned objectives.
The complementary funds that the project has identified include different agri-environmental measures from the Rural Development Plan, from the ESF fund as a tool for training, from the “green areas” fund and from the Cariplo Foundation.

Specific project objectives are to:

  • Improve the governance and the management models of the Natura 2000 network to achieve multiple policy goals, by increasing capacity building of various stakeholders involved in the management of the Natura 2000 network in the Lombardy Region;
  • Maintain and improve the conservation status of habitats and species;
  • Increase awareness and information on the value/potential of Natura 2000 areas;
  • Monitor the implementation of the PAF

This will be achieved through:

  • Improving skills and know-how of all those involved in the management of the Natura 2000 network (Lombardy Region, managing bodies, farming, volunteer work, associations, professionals);
  • The assessment of the current governance models of the sites, the identification and application of innovative models, including a correct estimate of ecosystem services provided by Natura 2000;
  • The harmonization of the Natura 2000 legislation and the definition of new surveillance protocols of the sites to improve the appropriate assessment procedures and the vigilance procedures and skills;
  • The maintenance and improvement of the ecological connections and the implementation of the Regional Ecological Network;
  • The design and implementation of measures for the improvement of the conservation status of habitats and plant species of Community interest (grasslands, peatlands and forests and some species of plants) and the maintenance of the minimum ecological water flow;
  • The design and implementation of measures for the improvement of the conservation status of birds of community interest, bats, amphibians and reptiles, crayfish, large carnivores: measures to improve habitats, definition of action plans, dissemination of best practices, training, definition of management procedures, etc;
  • The definition of a strategy for the control of invasive alien species, including measures to restrict the entry of new species through an integrated prevention system at the international airport of Orio al Serio;
  • The definition of a general communication strategy that connects the actions, in order to improve knowledge about Natura 2000, habitats and species, threats, best practices, etc;
  • The evaluation of the impact of the project actions on the conservation status of habitats and species, on the socio-economic aspects (eg ecosystem services, green jobs), and the evaluation of the contribution of the project in the implementation of the PAF.

Partners
Regione Lombardia, ERSAF, Corpo Forestale dello Stato, Fondazione Lombardia per l’Ambiente, LIPU, WWF and Comunità Ambiente.

Duration
01/01/2016 – 31/12/2023