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Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park
Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi MFC

First Listed

2021

Area
368.00km2

Why is it Green Listed?

Established on 12 July 1993, the Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park, in the Apennine mountains, conserves one of Italy’s largest old-growth beech forests. It is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also recognised with a European Diploma for Protected Areas.

IUCN’s Green list is the most important international certification of excellence concerning governance of protected areas. It’s with great honour that we acknowledge that three Italian national parks (Arcipelago Toscano, Foreste Casentinesi and Gran Paradiso) met this goal. This is an outcome in which the Ministry has invested and it shows the value of our precious natural capital, not only in terms of biodiversity protection, but also around its overall management.

Minister Roberto Cingolani from the Ministry of Ecological Transition

Key Achievements

Conservation

  • The Park excels, from the naturalistic point of view, as one of the most prized forest areas in Europe, whose heart is composed of the Casentino State Property Forests, inside which is the Integral Nature Reserve of Sasso Fratino, established in 1959. It is also a territory with inhabited centres, rich in historic, artistic, and architectural testimonies, offering the visitors a marvellous natural setting, rich in flora and fauna, which includes the most important wolf population of the northern Apennines, as well as the exceptional presence of five species of ungulates: wild boar, roe deer, fallow deer, deer and mouflon. 1. Thousand-year old forests, witnessing the continuous evolution of nature and impregnated with history, where the relationship with mankind has distant roots in time and is well documented since 1012 2. Ancient firs, beech forests and mountain maple, mixed woods with incredible variations of species. 3. The very rich avifauna currently includes about one hundred nesting species, including species with central European distribution, such as the Alpine Tree Creeper and the Bullfinch, and Mediterranean species, such as the Warbler and the Black Yellowhammer. 

Good governance

  • The territory of the Park is an area which economy is based on the use of the forest. The Park has managed to make the institutional purposes prevail by directing existing activities towards sustainability, while ensuring additional income from sustainable tourism to the territory. This process was made possible thanks to the involvement of external stakeholders as reflected in the composition of the Board of Directors which is consisting of stakeholders of a widespread base, consituting a real Board of Directors. 1. Management capacity of the Park Authority 2. Management and economic efficiency 3. Transparency and involvement of the population

Community benefits

  • The economy of the Casentino forests has been enriched thanks to the presence of the park with the addition of new economic activities related to tourism which, thanks to the park, have been seasonally adjusted and the offer has been designed for targets other than traditional ones. This is very significant because the park has managed to create jobs in a context that is not economically and socially dynamic. 1. Reconversion of the economic system 2. Services and participation in access to resources and benefits 3. Educational and scientific function 

Site Attributes

WDPA ID

Size
368.00km2

Designation(s)
World Heritage Site;Site of Community Importance (Habitats Directive);Special Protection Area (Birds Directive)

IUCN Category
II - National Park

Year Established
1993

Marine Protected Area
No

Governance Type
Government-delegated management

Site Agency
National Parks Managing Authority

EAGL Evaluation
25/11/2020

GL Committee Submission
23/12/2020

EAGL Chair
Fulvio Cerfolli

ASI Reviewer
Liviu Amariei

Site Summary

The Institution was established on 12 July 1993, governed by public law and supervised by the Ministry of the Environment. The primary task of the institution is to safeguard the naturalistic value of the park and to promote sustainable activities carried out in it. In particular, the purpose of the Park is the protection and reconstruction of hydraulic and hydrogeological balances as well as the conservation of animal or plant species.

The National Park covers an area of about 36,000 ha, equally divided between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany, including the provinces of Forlì-Cesena, Arezzo, and Florence. It extends along the Tuscan-Romagna Apennine ridge, descending steeply along the parallel valleys of the Romagna side and more gradually in the Tuscan side, which presents itself with softer slopes, up to the wide valley bottom formed by the Arno. The Romagna side includes the territories of the municipalities of Bagno di Romagna, Santa Sofia, Premilcuore, Portico-San Benedetto and Tredozio. On the Tuscan side are the Casentino municipalities of Poppi, Bibbiena, Chiusi della Verna, Pratovecchio Stia and, finally, those of the Mugello villages of San Godenzo and Londa

1. Natural Values
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
The Plan for the Park, as reported in its attached surveys, carefully examined all sectors that relate to natural values of the protected area, with particular reference to: • Faunal entities of amphibians, bats, micro-mammals, mesomammals, fish, birds, ungulates and wolves. • Management of forest ecosystems. • Relationship between agriculture and landscape. • Census of ancient fruit tree cultivars. • Analysis of the wood supply chain • Investigation of the effects of ungulate fauna on tree vegetation. • Analysis of the settlement system 1. Management of impacts 2. Sustainable forest management 3. Ecological corridors
1. Regulate anthropogenic pressure in the most sensitive areas of the Park through a better organization of use; flow management and limitations in delicate periods. Success threshold: active management of park access by 80% in three years. 2. Define the intervention and use models of forests capable of conserving and promoting their sustainable use; direct forestry plans towards increasing sustainability. Success threshold: 100% sustainable forest plan coverage within 5 years. 3. Promote all interventions capable of allowing functional interrelationships between the natural systems (animals and plants) present; promoting initiatives capable of creating ecological corridors inside and outside the Park to expand the efficiency of natural species. Success threshold: construction of 50% of the ecological corridors identified by the Park Plan in 5 years.
1. Currently, the AP monitors and manages accesses in 100% of the direct management areas and for those managed by others (local authorities) has agreed sustainable access methods for 70% of the areas. 2. Currently in the park, sustainable forest management plans cover 60% of the forests used. It should be noted that 36% of the forests in the Park are integral reserves and are not used. 3. Currently, measures have been identified to make ecological corridors effective with the Natura 2000 sites of Emilia Romagna. Appropriate measures are expected to be agreed with Natura 2000 sites in Tuscany over the next 3 years.
WOLF: the monitoring results show how the wolf population in the Park has reached saturation in terms of overall number / density, occupied territory, pack size and reproduction rate. Among the Italian territories with a comparable quality and intensity monitoring, the PNFC presents data of absolute excellence. GOLDEN EAGLE: also for the golden eagle the data show a substantial saturation of the territory, which due to the lack of open surfaces and prevalence of forest ecosystems, can host the number of pairs already present, which has been found constant for years with good reproductive success, whose fruits (the young eagles) colonize external territories due to the saturation of the Park. WILD CAT: the species has re-colonized the National Park after many years of absence, thanks to the reconstitution of a protected territory with suitable forest ecosystems and capable of hosting a large population of this felid. The monitoring carried out by the National Park, the Carabinieri and the University showed an abundant and continuous presence. The same positive results, less easily parameterized given the complexity of the reliefs and the number of species involved, are obtained in the conservation of many other species and in particular of amphibians (thanks also to an ongoing LIFE project, which is demonstrating its effectiveness as verified from the EU), rare xylophagous insects (such as Rosalia alpina and Osmoderma eremita, also object of a LIFE Nature project), birds (such as the Black Woodpecker, which has re-colonized the Park after decades of absence). A special program has made it possible to successfully carry out conservation and reintroduction interventions of fish species in the streams of the Park, with the release of rare or disappeared species (Macrostigma trout, Barbo canino, Bullhead cc), reared in specially built structures.
2. Ecosystem Service Values
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
On the basis of the biophysical (non-economic) service supply values for the year 2017, the Park calculated the average value of ecosystem services for each of the land cover classes considered by the National Land Cover Paper produced by ISPRA (2018 ): • wood production - the values are obtained on the basis of the INFC growth values with respect to the stock, associating a null value to all non-forest classes; • regulation of the hydrological regime - to represent this service in 2017, the estimated infiltration value was used as a parameter with reference to land cover in 2017 and compared to the average climatic data for the period 2012-2016 using the Bigbang 1.0 model; • carbon uptake - the carbon content values of the four pools considered in the ISPRA assessment are considered (soil, epigeal biomass, underground biomass, dead organic matter); • agricultural production - value of production in quintals per hectare based on the macro-classes identified for the ISPRA analysis in 2017. 1. wood production; 2. regulation of the hydrological regime; 3. carbon uptake;
1. wood production: a) completion and updating of forest planning by all public and private forest owners (over 100 hectares), with the relative silvicultural and environmental indications concerning the sustainable production of more “noble” wood assortments. Success threshold: 100% in 5 years b) Start-up of the residual coppice woods in the Park with a consequent change in the retractable assortments. Success threshold: 50% in 5 years 2. regulation of the hydrological regime: a) Definition of agreements with “Water Authority” for the correct management of riparian vegetation and their inclusion in the management guidelines for authorizations. Success threshold: 100% in 3 years b) Elimination of abstraction and irregular abstraction. Success threshold: 66% in 5 years. c) Evaluation of the sustainability of the use for hydroelectric purposes of the existing micro jumps at the artificial bridles of some waterways. Success threshold: 100% in 5 years. 3. carbon uptake: a) Increase in the average wood commissions of the various forest types. Success threshold: 10% in 5 years. b) Measurement of the levels of carbon stored in the forest ecosystems of the national park. Success threshold: 100% every 2 years.
1. wood production: currently wood production is almost completely sustainable, there is no approval for some forest plans that are expected to be implemented within the next 5 years. 2. regulation of the hydrological regime: the definition of agreements with the “Water Authority” for the correct management of riparian vegetation and their inclusion in the management guidelines for authorizations was carried out only with the consortia of the Emilia Romagna side. Work is underway to complete with all the slopes. The check on irregular uptake was intensified. 3. carbon uptake: work is underway to increase the average wood commissions of the various forest types in agreement with institutions and individuals.
• Maintenance of the existing carbon stocks in the Park. • High trunk start-up of the residual coppice woods in the Park with a consequent change in the assortments. • Qualification of wood production in assortments with high added value and longer operating life (beams, furniture), capable of storing carbon for long periods. • Environmental certification of the wood material produced in the National Park. • Qualification by the National Park of the wood material produced in harmony with the Park's programming. • Percentage reduction of wood biomass withdrawal • Forest management suitable for minimizing erosive phenomena and the consequent solid transport of water courses (fight against the silting of Lake Ridracoli) • Reduction of the average time for water soil loss. • Evaluation of the interference (positive and negative) of existing structural changes (hydraulic arrangements of past decades) on the suitability of waterways to host and conserve populations of native fish and of community interest.
3. Cultural Values
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
The Park Authority has carried out numerous investigations and studies, considering the correct management of environmental transformations implemented by man and the conservation of those traditional cultivation and management practices, which can still have a positive role not only on socio-economic aspects but also on environmental protection and conservation of biodiversity. A recent result of this approach is the realization of the project "The Peoples of the Park", which has also resulted in a special web portal http://www.popolidelparco.it/ where verbal, video and photographic evidence relating to the ancient human presence and practices in the territory of the National Park are gathered. An important cultural value that characterizes the PNFC is that of the relationship between religions and the environment, with specific reference to the two great realities of Camaldoli (Benedictine community, which gave birth to silver fir silviculture since the year one thousand AD) and de La Verna (Franciscan community, which managed the monumental forest of La Verna according to the dictates of San Francesco). On this relationship, the Park Authority, in collaboration with these religious communities, has carried out numerous projects that relate to the social, forest management, tourism and cultural areas. 1. Interventions of recovery of the traditions of the peoples of the park 2. Enhancement of the extraordinary heritage of the relationship between religion and the environment 3. Study and research activities on settlements in the Casentino forests
1. Implementation of interventions for the recovery of the traditions of the peoples of the Park envisaged by the Plan. Success threshold 70% in 5 years 2. Initiatives to enhance religious hermitages and abbeys. Success threshold: 4 every year 3. Completion of the studies on historical settlements in the Casentino forests. Success threshold 100% of those expected each year.Condition of cultural values
The cultural, archaeological and historical values of the park are all in excellent condition and managed in accordance with the purposes of the park.
The trend of the park's cultural values has always been very high and has remained so.

Conservation Summary

Outcome of EAGL Vote on Site
Consensus

EAGL Summary 
Foreword The application for the registration in the Green List of the Foreste Casentinesi National Park (Italy) was discussed by team of EAGL Italy on November 25, 2020 during a remote meeting (due to Covid-19 health restrictions). In order to establish whether the criteria of the GL Standard have been achieved, each of the 50 indicators were assessed on the basis of: • the provided documents reported by the candidate on Compass platform; • the integrations requested by EAGL to the candidate on some indicators to analyse with more attention; • the contribution received from the stakeholders consultation • the evaluation obtained by the EAGL during the site visit run on 2-4 November. The EAGL members who were not able to participate to the remote meeting were consulted individually and their declaration of vote, have been performed by email.

Component 1: Good Governance The discussion began by taking into account the indicators forming part of this component for which documentary integration had been requested. Particular attention was paid to indicator 1.1.6, for which there still appears to be a lack of documentation proving the local community’s acceptance of governance mechanisms and structures. During the site visit, however, it was possible to observe how the Park Authority is inserted in a old historical context where the forestry culture is central and although the Park Authority is recently established, behind it there is properly a territory with a well-rooted and recognized culture of forest conservation. From the meeting with stakeholders it emerges that the Park Community seems active and driving and contacts with local economic realities are good also thanks to the rather small size of the National Park. The projects with the realities of the territory are on small-scale and there seems to be a lack of real and medium-long-term planning of comparison with civil society perhaps also due to reduced number of structural staff of the Park (19 units). No critical issues have emerged since there is a focus of the Park to addressing to the residents and from local economies regarding the actions of the Park. However, the Park Authority is suggested to improve planning and make the process of civil society involvement transparent. This will allow the Park to explicitly demonstrate how it works in the process of land involvement and planning. Based on the evidences produced by the candidate, the integrations requested and the site visit observations, EAGL considers that the site meets all three criteria of the component.

Component 2: Sound Design and Planning The integrative notes required for some of the indicators in this component were satisfactory: the annual reports prepared for the UNESCO Commission show the conservation status of the site, and the threats to natural values and related ecosystem services can be found in the general reports on Natura 2000 Network sites (overlap almost all of the National Park). The environmental projects discussed during the site visit are in the medium to long term more than long-term but this does not affect the conservation objective. A project worthy of note is the one that the Park Authority has addressed to the new local generations to make them ready for the next economic challenges: there is in fact a tendency of the Park Authority to prepare more and more towards sustainable tourism. Based on the evidences produced by the candidate, the integration requested and the site visit observations, EAGL considers that the site meets all four criteria of the component.

Component 3: Effective Management Also for this component began with the analysis of the indicators for which integration was requested and in particular focused on the 3.1.4, related to the Park staff that according to the Park Authority is under dimensioned and this was also noticed during the site visit. There are 19 employees in total flanked by the Forestry Corp of Carabinieri, the Carabinieri of the Biodiversity Service and experts in the various disciplines as well as a good component of volunteers. All this serves to meet the needs of the institution but it is suggested if possible to verify the opportunity to insert more professional figures on individual projects financed in order to have a strengthening of qualified personnel to be dedicated to nature conservation objectives. With regard to criterion 3.6, it was confirmed during the site visit the Park’s intention to increase the tourist flow in the coming years to develop the local economy. Among the information provided it emerges that there is a process started by the Tourist Promotion Agency Tuscany and Emilia Romagna Regions that has as its target project the increase from 180 thousand to 475 thousand overnight stays. According to the conservation management and tourism, there is no apparently conflict with the conservation activities because there is a consolidate planned strategy of the park. To manage this increase in tourist pressure. it is suggested to maintain monitoring actions and impact studies on the territory, as well as to allocate dedicated personnel and to enforce the maintenance of a good pathways net and facilities to support visitors. A small criticality found during the inspection seems to be that of the insufficient enhancement of the peculiarities of the Protected Area. The Park Authority does not make the most of the potential visibility of belonging to the network of UNESCO sites, the European network of Natura 2000 network sites or, in the future, the Green List. A greater effort should be made to communicate externally its values and the actions taken to maintain them. In addition, the communication part on the values of the Park should also be strengthened to ask the visitor for the necessary attention in the use of the territory. It is therefore suggested to integrate the Park communication plan by highlighting the importance in national and international contexts of biodiversity values (UNESCO, Natura 2000 Network, Green List). Based on the evidences produced by the candidate, the integration requested and the site visit observations, EAGL considers that the site meets all seven criteria of the component.

Component 4: Successful Conservation Outcomes Following a specific request during the site visit, the Park has integrated on COMPASS positive conservation interventions dedicated to endangered species of amphibians and other taxa units with new documentation. Studies for the purpose of evaluating ecosystem services are still in their inception phase (a few papers), but collaborations are underway with some universities for this purpose. Based on the evidences produced by the candidate, the integration requested and the site visit observations, EAGL considers that the site meets all three criteria of the component. Conclusions and Decision EAGL Italy underlines the outstanding efforts of the FCNP to conserve nature, maintain traditions, support sustainable economic grow and preliminary evidence to support analysis and benefits from ecosystem services. Due to the initial phase of the evaluation of ecosystem services an Action Plan to declare future actions, milestones and threshold levels on this item has been asked to be prepared in the next 10-12 months (see uploaded file named “PNFC Action Plan”). The work done by the Park to respond to the GL Standard is experienced by all the Park staff (managers, researchers, guides, volunteers) as a process for improvement, not a point of arrival but a way to work also in the future on a daily basis in the sense of efficiency and effectiveness. Based on these evidences and the documents analysed, the experts of EAGL Italy positively support the candidacy of FCNP to the Green List.

Out of 11 EAGL members, 11 voted, unanimous, in favour.

Reviewer Summary
The Site has provided detailed information in relation to compliance with Green List Standard requirements. The relevant documentation is available on Compass. The EAGL requested additional information on several aspects, which the Foreste Casentinesi National Park provided. Some of the aspects relating to additional evidence the EAGL requested were also verified during the site visit. With regards to compliance evaluation relating to Component 4 of the GL standard, conclusions were reached and a positive decision was taken, based partly on systems and processes, also on studies that are currently taking place but, in some cases, still in the absence of confirmed outcomes. In order to follow up on the aspects where full compliance with the Green List standard could not be detected, the EAGL requested that the Foreste Casentinesi National park prepares an Action Plan. The stakeholder meeting organized during the site visit by the designated EAGL members was conducted in confidence, with a very good level of participation of a wide range of local stakeholders. The quorum for decision was confirmed and also absence of Conflict of Interests (CoI) was confirmed for the EAGL members responsible for the evaluation and also for the EAGL decision-making meeting.The EAGL made a positive decision, unanimously. The EAGL had some issues with regards to some members not being operational and not being very responsive. Base on a request from the EAGL Chair, three EAGL members formally left the Italian EAGL during November 2020. With regards to the indicator found by the EAGL not to be in full compliance with GL requirements (4.2.2), the Foreste Casentinesi National Park presented in February 2021 an Action Plan. The Italian EAGL will check the implementation of the proposed Action Plan according to the stated timeline.

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