Classification of protected areas

Classification of protected areas

CLASSIFICATION OF PROTECTED AREAS

Framework law 394/91 provides for the official recognition by the State of protected areas that meet certain requirements and establishes that an official list of the same is kept at the Ministry of the Environment (Article 5). Registration in the list takes place according to criteria defined by the Committee for protected natural areas (art. 3) and is a condition for the allocation of funding by the State, through the three-year plan of protected areas.

The first list was approved by the Committee for protected natural areas with Resolution 21 December 1993, the second with Resolution 18 December 1995, the third with resolution December 1997.

Currently the system of protected natural areas is classified as follows:


National Parks consist of terrestrial, river, lake or marine areas that contain one or more ecosystems intact or even partially altered by anthropic interventions, one or more physical, geological, geomorphological, biological formations, of international or national importance for naturalistic values, scientific, aesthetic, cultural, educational and recreational such as to require the intervention of the State for the purpose of their conservation for present and future generations.

Regional and interregional natural parks

Regional or interregional natural parks are made up of terrestrial, river, lake areas and possibly stretches of sea facing the coast, of naturalistic and environmental value, which constitute, within one or more neighboring regions, a homogeneous system, identified by naturalistic structures of the places, from the landscape and artistic values ​​and from the cultural traditions of the local populations. Natural reserves are made up of terrestrial, fluvial, lake or marine areas that contain one or more naturalistically relevant species of flora and fauna, or have one or more more ecosystems important for biological diversity or for the conservation of genetic resources. Nature reserves can be state or regional based on the importance of the naturalistic elements they represent.

Wetlands of international interest

Wetlands of international interest consist of swampy areas, swamps, peat bogs or natural or artificial water areas, permanent or transitory, including areas of sea water whose depth, when there is low tide, does not exceed six meters which, due to their characteristics, they can be considered of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

Other protected natural areas

Other protected natural areas are areas (oases of environmental associations, suburban parks, etc.) that do not fall into the previous classes. They are divided into public management areas, that is, established with regional laws or equivalent provisions, and privately managed areas, established with formal public measures or with contractual acts such as concessions or equivalent forms.

Special Protection Areas (SPAs)

The Special Protection Areas designated pursuant to Directive 79/409 / Cee consist of territories suitable for extension and / or geographical location for the conservation of the bird species listed in Annex I of the aforementioned directive, concerning the conservation of wild birds .

Special areas of conservation (SACs)

The special conservation areas are designated pursuant to directive 92/43 / Cee and consist of natural areas, geographically defined and with a delimited surface that:
  1. contain terrestrial or aquatic areas which are distinguished by their geographical, abiotic and biotic, natural or semi-natural (natural habitats) characteristics and which contribute significantly to the conservation, or restoration, of a natural habitat type or a species of flora and fauna wild animals referred to in Annex I and II of Directive 92/43 / EEC, relating to the conservation of natural and semi-natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna in a satisfactory state to protect biological diversity in the Palearctic region through the protection of alpine environments , Apennine and Mediterranean;
  2. are designated by the State through a regulatory, administrative and / or contractual act and in which the conservation measures necessary for the maintenance or restoration, in a satisfactory state of conservation, of the natural habitats and / or populations of the species for which the natural area is designated.

These areas are referred to as Sites of Community Importance (Sic).

Terrestrial and marine retrieval areas:

The terrestrial and marine retrieval areas are indicated by laws 394/91 and 979/82, which constitute areas whose conservation through the establishment of protected areas is considered a priority.

In turn, Law 394/91 and Law 979/82 and with the extensions provided for by Laws no. 344 of 8 October 1997 and Law no. 426 of 9 December 1998 have defined theMarine protected areas, namely: "Marine nature reserves are made up of marine environments, given by the waters, the seabed and the stretches of coast facing that are of significant interest for the natural, geomorphological, physical, biochemical characteristics with particular regard to flora and marine and coastal fauna and for their scientific, ecological, cultural, educational and economic importance "(title V - art. 25 - L. 979/82).


Classification

The Italian Natural Areas, are classified according to law 394/91 which precisely defines the technical classification parameters for these areas.
These Naturalistic Areas are usually known as Natural parks

National Parks
Thanks to their characteristics, the conservation of terrestrial, river, lake or marine areas that have intact or even partially altered ecosystems, physical, geological, geomorphological, biological formations of international or national importance for naturalistic, scientific, aesthetic, cultural, educational and recreational activities, is the responsibility of the State, which intervenes directly on the territory through the structures of the State Forestry Corps which has the task of safeguarding, monitoring and ensuring compliance with the Regulations of these areas.

Regional and interregional natural parks
They are areas, which involve one or more neighboring regions, of a terrestrial, fluvial, lake type and possibly stretches of sea in front of the coast, which constitute a homogeneous system thanks to the landscape and artistic value of the places, as well as the cultural traditions of the local populations.

Natural reserves
They can be state or regional nature reserves, it depends on the importance of the interests represented in them. The State Natural Reserves are included in the National Natural Parks.
They are terrestrial, river, lake or marine areas with one or more ecosystems that present one or more species of flora or fauna to be protected, both for biological diversity and for the conservation of genetic resources.

Wetlands of international interest and importance
Their establishment is the responsibility of the state.
Marshes, lagoons, salt marshes, peat bogs, river, lake and coastal stretches that are located within areas classified of international importance as waterfowl habitat under the Convention signed in Ramsar on February 2, 1971 and validated are part of this classification. from Italy with DPR n. 448 of May 13, 1976.
Many areas of this classification are included within the National Natural Parks.

Other protected natural areas
They are areas that do not fall within the aforementioned classifications, such as oases of environmental associations, suburban parks, natural monuments, etc.
They can be publicly managed areas, established with regional laws or equivalent provisions, and privately managed areas, established with formal public provisions or with contractual acts such as concessions or equivalent forms.

Special Protection Areas (SPAs)
Thanks to their extension and geographical location, these areas are suitable for the conservation of wild bird species. They are designated under directive 79/409 / Cee.

Special areas of conservation (SACs)
They are natural areas of terrestrial or aquatic type which thanks to their geographical, abiotic and biotic, natural or semi-natural (natural habitats) characteristics, contribute significantly to the conservation and restoration of a natural habitat or a species of wild flora and fauna, such as to protect biological diversity within the region concerned.
These areas are referred to as Sites of Community Importance (SCI).
They are also designated under Directive 92/43 / EEC.

Most of both of these areas are included in the Natural Parks


Main regulatory instruments for protected areas and parks

There L.394 / 91, therefore, it is the first regulatory instrument to dictate fundamental principles for the establishment and management of protected areas by establishing that the natural heritage on the national territory must be subjected to a "special protection and management regime".

The state and regions have equipped themselves with management tools for the protection and conservation of the natural heritage in line with most others recent European and United Nations principles. The latter in fact in drawing up the list of SDGS[1] or the global goals of sustainable development have reserved some goals exclusively for the respect and protection of life under water (Goal 14) and life on earth (Goal 15), inviting to protect, restore and promote a sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystem, noting, in a transversal way, the issue of biodiversity protection, as well as the protection of flora and fauna in ecosystems. The Agenda strategy identifies, among others, the objective of carrying out effective and immediate actions to reduce the degradation of natural environments, halt the destruction of biodiversity and protect species at risk of extinction [2].

These protection rules are necessary to guarantee everyone the right to use the territory and to cultivate their passions without giving in to compromises dictated by malpractice. The principles underlying the framework law on protected areas are inspired by the protection, conservation, enhancement and promotion of the naturalistic and geological territory and underline the importance of individual responsibility in respect and where possible in the improvement of these territories and ecological balances, which represent an irreplaceable legacy to be preserved for future generations.


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The system of protected areas

Currently the system of protected areas is classified as follows:

  • National Park

Today, on the Italian territory, 24 national parks are registered [3] which extend in total for over one and a half million hectares, covering about 5% of the national territory. The parks are set up to ensure the protection of unique species or environments throughout the country and access to the public is permitted with prior authorization, for recreational, educational and cultural purposes.

  • Regional Park

There are currently 134 regional parks in Italy and cover an area of ​​about one million hectares. The conceptual difference between national park and regional park, according to what can be seen from Article 2 of Law 394/91, should essentially lie in the fact that in the latter protected area, greater emphasis is placed on the strictly connected anthropic use, and experienced with intimate adherence to the values ​​expressed by the territory and local populations [4].

  • State Nature Reserve and Nature Reserve of the regions with special status

They are areas of limited extension of significant importance from the scientific point of view, representative of particular aspects of certain territories. They are divided into different categories according to the levels of protection granted to them, in fact a distinction is made between: integral nature reserves, in which access to visitors is prohibited and human presence is limited to purely scientific purposes and for surveillance oriented nature reserves, in which the human presence is limited to a controlled use special nature reserves and finally biogenetic nature reserves, established mainly to preserve the genetic characteristics of some living beings considered in danger of extinction. Unlike parks, therefore, the establishment of reserves is based exclusively on protectionist needs that are not interested in anthropogenic activities.

  • Wetlands

These are swamps, peat bogs, sea water areas and the like, which due to their characteristics can be considered of international importance as established by the Ramsar Convention [5]. Most of the wetlands recognized by the Convention are classified as nature reserves.

  • Marine protected areas

Among these there is a further subdivision into three types of areas characterized by different degrees of protection. These are stretches of sea, coastal and otherwise, in which human activities are partially or totally limited. Today there are 32 marine protected areas, covering an area of ​​about 222 thousand hectares and to these must be added two submerged parks and the International Marine Mammal Sanctuary, with another 2.5 million hectares protected. It is recalled that within the objectives of the UN Agenda 2030, objective 14 envisages the conservation of the sea and marine resources, contemplating the objective of protecting the marine and coastal ecosystem to avoid particularly harmful impacts and strengthen their resilience, in in order to obtain healthy and productive oceans. We therefore refer to a more sustainable use of marine resources, including the management of fishing, aquaculture and tourism [6].

  • Other protected areas

They are part of the Regional Protected Natural Areas, generally speaking of natural monuments, suburban or provincial parks, oases of environmental associations such as WWF or Legambiente. They can be publicly or privately managed (as in the case of the system of protected areas managed by the WWF), they are oases of significant importance for their purpose of conservation of representative samples of ecosystems considered particularly rare or areas of exceptional naturalistic value because habitat of endangered species [7].

  • Natura 2000 network

It is an ecological network spread throughout the European Union, established pursuant to Directive 92/43 / EEC "Habitat" to ensure the long-term maintenance of natural habitats and species at risk of flora and fauna at the level community. In Italy, SCIs, SACs and SPAs [8] cover a total of about 19% of the national terrestrial territory and more than 7% of the marine one [9]. Their identification is the work of the individual Regions and Autonomous Provinces, in a coordinated process at central level.


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By humid area we generally mean any type of natural environment characterized in some way by the coexistence of soil and water.

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