Rewilding Europe – Coordinating Beneficiary
Rewilding Europe wants to demonstrate the benefits of wilder nature through the rewilding of diverse European landscapes, and to inspire and enable others to engage in rewilding by providing tools and practical expertise. Rewilding Europe presents a vision in which wild nature is valued and treated as an essential element of a prosperous and healthy society, with far more space provided for wildlife and natural processes. In bringing back the variety of life the initiative explores new ways for people to earn a fair living from the wild.
Rewilding Europe proposes a new conservation vision for Europe, with wild nature and natural processes as key elements, and where rewilding is applicable to any type of landscape or level of protection. The initiative views wild nature as something that is fully capable of taking care of itself. This concept should become the main management principle for many of Europe’s natural areas in the future. Rewilding Europe is a pan-European initiative with a team of people from 13 European countries.
Rewilding Apennines seeks to develop the Central Apennines rewilding landscape as a wilder place for the benefit of nature and people. The extraordinary biological and scenic richness of the area offers an opportunity to counter rural depopulation and establish enterprises that link to a wilder post-agricultural landscape.
Over the last nine years, Rewilding Apennines has worked closely with local partners to improve habitat and wildlife recovery in corridors that connect the main protected areas. A notable success, commended by the International Association for Bear Research and Management, is the Bear Smart Community Genzana pilot project coordinated by Salviamo l’Orso since 2015 and implemented together with local entities and associations, including Rewilding Apennines. Though relatively small-scale, initial actions are positive with a 100% reduction in bear damage in 2020 since its development in 2014.
Since 2015, Rewilding Apennines and Salviamo l’Orso have hosted 110 volunteers from abroad and other Italian regions, who complemented the Rewilding Apennines staff and a group of highly-motivated local volunteers. This movement of people has generated a strong impact both on nature conservation and local communities.
Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise
The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise (PNALM) is one of the oldest parks in Italy and was established by a private initiative in 1922 with the aim of safeguarding two endemic species of the Central Apennines then almost completely extinct: the Apennine chamois and the Marsican brown bear. Its institution was recognized by national law in 1923.
The PNALM deals with surveillance, education, promotion of tourist activities, management of fauna, flora and forests. The protected area covers about 50,500 hectares, with a contiguous area of about 77,500 hectares. PNALM received the European Diploma of Protected Areas for the first time in 1968 which was then always renewed. This park is part of a transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to 5 ancient beech forests. It is also part of the European Charter of Sustainable Tourism.
PNALM is a source site for the Marsican brown bear population and has carried out several LIFE projects and other initiatives for the conservation of this species.
Salviamo l’Orso is an association of volunteers that carries out concrete actions for the protection of the Marsican brown bear and is becoming a point of reference for the public opinion that cares about the issues of bear conservation. The association intends to push regional and national institutions to act with more courage and determination in favour of the bear.
Salviamo l’Orso was created in September 2012 by five founders, linked by a passion for nature and the bear and today has more than 300 members. These people came together because of the precarious conservation status of the Marsican brown bear in the Central Apennines and to try to change it. In addition to enthusiasts, this association also boasts professionals, such as park rangers, biologists, veterinarians and zoologists.
An important part of their activity focuses on promoting coexistence and conflict mitigation between locals and wildlife. They work year-round in the field with volunteers, many of whom are students or graduates in biology or similar fields.
Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park
The Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park is a public body in charge of the protection and conservation of a territory that extends over three regions of the Apennines: Abruzzo, Lazio and Marche. It carries out its activities in collaboration with the local communities and with the Ministry of Ecological Transition, in charge of its supervision.
The National Park Authority manages the conservation actions of management and protection of the floral and faunistic heritage, it supports and coordinates scientific research in collaboration with research institutions, implements projects and interventions for environmental enhancement as also programs for dissemination and environmental education in collaboration with local schools. Among its actions there is also the promotion of the local historical and cultural heritage.
In the Park, there has been evidence of the presence of at least one individual brown bear, which is an important indicator that the territory is of importance for the expansion of the species.
Parco Regionale Sirente Velino
The Regional Natural Park Sirente Velino, one of the largest and most important parks in Italy, the one and only regional park in Abruzzo, was born in 1989 with the aim of safeguarding the environmental values, as well as and handing down to future generations the cultural elements and the signs of the historical-architectural richness inherited from the past.
The Park is an enchanting natural scenery that alternates sweet and relaxing landscapes with steep rocky walls: ideal habitats for the most interesting flora and fauna of Central Italy. It is a great example of history, since its villages preserve temples, castles, towers and medieval testimonies surrounded by an extraordinary nature.
Here is preserved one of the most interesting ecosystems of the central Apennines where the flora, the vegetal heritage and the fauna are of particular importance. The Regional Natural Park Sirente Velino has participated in several Life-Nature projects to protect the species of flora and fauna present in its territory.
Monte Genzana Alto Gizio Natural Reserve
Established in 1996, the Monte Genzana Alto Gizio Natural Reserve protects a territory of great ecological interest between the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise and the Majella National Park. With its 3,164 hectares, it is the largest reserve in the Abruzzo region and the only one that includes within it an inhabited historical center, that of Pettorano sul Gizio.
The wide altitude range crosses many evocative landscapes, between the 600 m above sea level of the Gizio river and the 2,170 m of the Genzana mountain peak, and offers a great variety of habitats and a high biodiversity of flora species. The stable presence of large carnivorous species of major conservation importance, such as wolf and Marsican brown bear, confirms that the Reserve represents a crucial node in the ecological network of Apennine biodiversity. In addition to these “flagship” species, it is also represented by other species protected by national and community regulations.
The area of the Reserve Monte Genzana Alto Gizio, established between Pettorano sul Gizio and Rocca Pia, is also the first bear-smart community established.
Pettorano sul Gizio
It is an Italian commune of 1.344 inhabitants, in the province of L’Aquila in Abruzzo. The origins of the present town of Pettorano sul Gizio date back to medieval times, but the surrounding territory and the heights near the village were frequented by man since the Paleolithic. The defensive character of the village is testified by the presence of the Cantelmo Castle and by the remains of the city walls. The other elements characterizing the historical centre are the five access doors, the noble palaces and the Ducal Palace, current seat of the Town Hall and of the protected area.
Included in the network of the most beautiful villages in Italy and surrounded today by wild nature, it is a perfect example of coexistence between nature and man, with its culture and its traditional activities.
The Environmental Organization for Wildlife and Nature CALLISTO was founded in 2004 in Thessaloniki by scientists with extensive experience and specialization in environmental issues.
CALLISTO has extensive experience in the study, conservation and management of large carnivores in Greece, Southern Europe and the Balkans. The organisation also supports the establishment and operation of Protected Areas and Ecological Networks, in order to preserve biodiversity, and the natural and cultural heritage, in general.
Equally important in the work of CALLISTO is the coexistence of wildlife with humans. Through awareness campaigns and education, CALLISTO calls upon citizens to take action in the fight against the major environmental and social problems of our time.
ARCTUROS was founded in September 1992. It is a civil, non-profit organisation, aiming for the Conservation of Wildlife and the Natural Environment. The organisation’s activities started with the brown bear (Ursus arctos) as the main focal point since the study of this species offers the potential for a comprehensive approach to management issues of the mountainous forest ecosystems in Greece, especially in Northern Greece. Since 1996, ARCTUROS’ actions have expanded to include other species of wildlife (e.g. wolf, chamois, otter) and preservation actions for specific habitat types (mainly forest and mountain), as well as areas which have been proposed for inclusion in the “Natura 2000” Network of Protected Areas.
ARCTUROS’ main objectives to date are the promotion of cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organisations in Greece and the Balkans, raising environmental awareness and exploiting every opportunity for the most effective preservation of wildlife and the natural environment in general.
University of Thessaly
University of Thessaly, with 37 Departments, and 8 schools is a University with its own identity and with a prominent position in Greece’s national educational system. UTH provides undergraduate and postgraduate programs and extra-curricular modules in specific research and business fields. The members of the academic and research staff participate in European research networks and numerous innovative research projects in the European Community.
TRIKALA DEVELOPMENT AGENCY – KENAKAP S.A. was established in 1992. Its aim is to promote the economic and cultural development of the wider area of Trikala in Greece, by carrying out its activities according to the planning and development instruments of the Local Authorities.
Municipality of Amyntaio
The Municipality of Amyntaio belongs to the Region of Western Macedonia. Its area amounts to 589 km2 with a population of 16,973 inhabitants. The area of Amyntaio is a biologically rich area, with its boundaries being formed by four important lakes: Cheimaditida, Zazari, Petron and Vegoritida. Within the Amyntaio basin lay four “Natura 2000” sites, rich in habitat types and wildlife. One of the most beautiful and important parts of this area is the habitat of the brown bear. The Municipality of Amyntaio is majorly responsible for the conservation and sustainable management of these sites.