The establishment of the Natura 2000 Network on the European Union territory is the result of a long process that has led, firstly the scientific world and subsequently increasingly larger sections of the population, to an awareness that it is imperative for us to define and pursue significant actions that will contain and in the short term stop the loss of biodiversity which has been taking place worldwide in recent years.
Natura 2000 Network is the name that the Council of Ministers of the European Union assigned to a coordinated and coherent system – precisely a “network” – of areas designated to conserve the biological diversity found on Union territory and in particular to protect a series of habitats and animal and plant species indicated in Annexes I and II of the “Habitat” Directive (no. 92/43 / EEC) and the species referred to in Annex I of the “Birds” Directive (no. 79 / 409 / EEC, now no. 2009/147 / EC), as well as other migratory species that return regularly to Italy.
The Natura 2000 Network is currently composed of two types of areas: Special Protection Areas (SPA), provided for by the “Birds” Directive, and Sites of Community Importance (SCI), provided for by the “Habitat” Directive; there may be differing spatial relations between these areas, from total overlapping to complete separation. Pursuant to art. 3 of the “Habitat” Directive, these sites are designated, within the time limits set by the Directive, as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), as soon as the appropriate conservation and protection measures are implemented and the Management Plans formulated, which call for the protection of these environments in a perspective of sustainable development, integrating human activities and conservation needs. The totality of the Special Areas of Conservation designated by the Member States therefore constitutes the European network of protected sites called “Natura 2000“.
The proposed sites were identified in Italy by the individual Regions and Provinces in a process coordinated on a central level. This represented the opportunity to set up a network of scientific representatives to support the regional administrations, in collaboration with outstanding Italian scientific associations.
Aimed at raising naturalistic awareness on the national territory, the activities that are carried out range from drawing up species check-lists, describing the vegetation of the territory, creating databases on the distribution of species, implementing monitoring projects on the natural heritage, to creating publications and scientific and informative articles.
To ensure, from a procedural and substantial point of view, that a balanced relationship is achieved between the satisfactory conservation of habitats and species and the sustainable use of the territory, the “Habitat” Directive has introduced the procedure of Impact Assessment, a practice of a preventive nature entrusted to the SCI and SPA managing authorities, to which any plan or project must be submitted that may have significant effects on a site that belongs to the Natura 2000 Network.
This approach offers the opportunity to align the aims of nature conservation with those of economic development, in the perspective of sustainability.
Currently the area of the Orobie bergamasche Park comprises nine areas designated as SCIs and three areas defined as SPAs, which cover almost all of the Park’s surface area. The Orobie bergamasche Park is also identified as the managing authority of the SCIs present (except the Boschi del Giovetto di Paline SCI, already a Nature Reserve), and of the more extensive SPA specifically known as the Orobie Bergamasche Regional Park (does not manage the Boschi del Giovetto di Paline SPA and the Belviso – Barbellino SPA).
SCIs and SPAs in the Bergamo Orobie bergamasche Park
The Sites of Community Importance and the Special Protection Areas included in the territory of the Bergamo Orobie bergamasche Park are:
SCI Valtorta and Valmoresca
SCI Valle di Piazzatorre – Isola di Fondra
SCI Upper Val Brembana – Gemelli Lakes
SCI Upper Val di Scalve
SCI Val Sedornia – Val Zurio – Pizzo della Presolana
SCI Valle Asinina
SCI Valle Parina
SCI Val Nossana – Cima di Grem
SCI Boschi del Giovetto di Paline (not managed by the Park)
SPA Boschi del Giovetto di Paline (not managed by the Park)
SPA Belviso – Barbellino (not managed by the Park)
SPA Orobie Bergamasche Regional Park
The introduction of the Natura 2000 Network system has indeed shifted the focus of measures and interventions regarding protected areas and nature conservation to a more naturalistic and ecological approach. The procedures on Impact Assessment and the management of SCIs and SPAs are in this regard fully evident: it is no longer simply a question of prohibiting and prescribing, but rather of managing, advancing resolutely towards forms of active protection implemented with strictly scientific-conservational criteria. The fundamental purpose becomes increasingly clearer that we must prevent impairment of species and habitats, with particular reference to species and habitats of community interest: for this purpose, interventions cannot be implemented whose execution, net of compensation and environmental compensation, involves loss of biodiversity.
We can therefore consider a new phase in planning and managing the protected Lombardy areas to be in progress, transcending mere urban planning, referring in particular to the themes of nature and landscape conservation considered in ecological terms, as well as the active management of habitats and species of scientific and naturalistic interest, thus using the criteria, practices and objectives of the Natura 2000 Network as a foundation.