Fagus Life Project Introduction - LIFE11 NAT/IT/000135

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The species that characterise the habitats 9210* Apennine beech forests with Taxus and Ilex, and 9220* Apennine beech forests with Abies alba and beech forests with Abies nebrodensis are yew, holly and silver fir and are rare in Apennine beech forests due to management actions that are not specific for this forest types and to grazing, which strongly impacts the regeneration of these species.

Conventional management of Apennine beech forests impacts also other species which belong to those taxonomic groups that are limited by the lack of deadwood and of senescing trees, and by the homogeneous structure of managed forests. Among these taxonomic groups are saproxylic beetles and fungi, vascular plants, lichens and birds.

Main aim

Ensure the long-term conservation of the habitats 9210* and 9220* in the National Parks: Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni and Gran Sasso and Laga Mounts.

Specific objectives

  1. Develop Sustainable Management Strategies for the habitat 9210* and 9220*;
  2. Enhance the levels of biological diversity for vascular plants, lichens, birds, saproxylic beetles and fungi;
  3. Monitoring of the habitats to assess the effects of the conservation actions;
  4. Promote the participation of relevant stakeholders to point out the advantages of sustainable management for the habitats. 

Main actions

A – Preparatory actions: Data collection aimed at the assessment of the current habitat condition in the project area. Sampling of forest structure, composition and diversity for the focus taxa;

C – Concrete conservation actions: Promote the regeneration of yew, holly and silver fir; enhancement of diversity levels for the focus taxa.

D – Monitoring actions: Design of the monitoring plan. Sampling of forest structure, composition and diversity for the focus taxa after the concrete conservation actions.

E – Dissemination Actions: website, promotional material meetings, courses, conferences, notice boards.

F – Project Monitoring Actions.

The deliverable "Manuale di Buone Pratiche per la gestione degli Habitat 9210* e 9220*" is now available.

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The deliverable has been written taking into consideration the experiences included within the "Action C" of the Lige Fagus project.
The deliverable is intented to be used by the subject matter expert of the forestry topic, as a reference for the sustainable management and habitat conservation and in particular for the apennine beech forests.
The manual is available within the "Download" section of this website or direclty using this link (Manuale di Buone Pratiche).

The Project LIFE+ Fagus is close to its end

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On the 11th and 12th of July took place the final event during which the results of the project have been presented to the public.

On July the 11th the conference was held in the Department of Environmental Biology of Sapienza University of Rome. To this event participated 70 people including students, citizens, researchers, personnel of the Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea Protection, Carabinieri Forestali and other persons that have interest in the conservation of biodiversity within Natura 2000 areas.

After the greetings by the Department Director and the Presidents of the two National Parks involved in the project, the first part of the morning was dedicated to the description of the actions of the project with a special focus on the results that were achieved.

In particular, the results for vascular plants and saproxylic beetles were presented. With regards to plants, it was possible to highlight how their composition within the project areas is more diverse due to the creation of gaps carried out during the project. Very relevant are the results for saproxylic beetles with two species included in the annex II of the Habitats Directive, Rosalia alpina and Morimus asper, that were found in the project areas only after the concrete interventions actions. This result derives from the increase of the amount of deadwood that was found in the project areas. Concerning the monitoring of tree species, it was also found that the target species (yew, holly and silver fir) went through a certain increase.

During the second part of the conference, different experts presented topics relative to the conservation and the monitoring of biodiversity in forest habitats. Finally, also other LIFE projects were presented that applied sustainable strategies, mainly in forest habitats.

In particular, the presentation were relative to the MIPP project, which developed and tested standardized monitoring methods to evaluate the conservation status of insect species included in the annexes of the Habitats Directive, to the project CARABUS, that aimed at reduce the extinction threat to the species Carabus olympiae, to the project RESILFOR that pursued the spread of silver fir in the Apennines, and finally to the project GRANATHA, focused on enhancing the conservation status of bird species in moor habitats.

During the conference, besides the Layman report, the participants had copies of the Handbook of good practices produced by the FAGUS project and of the documentary that was projected as a pleasant break between the scientific presentations during the afternoon.


On the next day, the excursion to the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park took place. The participants were lead by the project staff in the project area of Prati di Tivo in order to view the concrete interventions. During the excursion, the replicability of the interventions was discussed both in other areas of the National Parks involved in the project and in other Natura 2000 areas, especially in relation to the priority status of the habitat.

The project is therefore almost finished, but we expect that the actions that were carried out represent a sound basis to have the actions of the project applied again in other beech forests of the Apennines.


FAGUS is among the projects supporting 25 years of LIFE & Foreste

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FAGUS is among the projects supporting 25 years of LIFE & Foreste!

For information about the event visit the website  http://www.lifeforeste25.it/



Fagus is the Project of the month!

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Fagus has been appointed as the project of the month by the "Ministero dell'Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare" (Italian Ministry for the environment), in particular by the "Direzione Generale per lo sviluppo sostenibile, per il danno ambientale e per i rapporti con l'Unione europea e gli organismi internazionali" (department of that ministery).

At the following links it is possible to see the web pages of the nomination with further informations and details.



Look who’s back: Rosalia Alpina back to visit us

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During a visit to one of the areas of intervention of the project near Prati di Tivo, we spotted two individuals of  Rosalia alpina.

It is a cerambycid beetle, typically inhabiting the beech forests of the Park that are in the older age phases. This species is easily distinguished by its pale blue color with three big velvety black spots on the elytrae (forewings). Rosalia alpina is related to the dead and decaying wood both in the larval and in the adult stage, especially dead wood lying on the ground, which is usually chosen as a breeding site.

Finding this species in the intervention areas of FAGUS is source of great satisfaction because it denotes the success of the concrete actions of the project: the implementation of measures that aim to increasing the structural heterogeneity of the forest through the creation of dead wood and habitat trees useful to foster the presence of birds and saproxylic organisms linked to this type of microhabitats just as the Rosalia alpina.

Furthermore, the Rosalia alpina is included in the Habitats Directive as a priority species, classified as vulnerable by the IUCN and included in Annex III of the Bern Convention. The main threat to this species is therefore represented by the destruction, loss and fragmentation of their habitat, the dead wood in the forest.


Fourth monitoring visit to FAGUS project in Monti Alburni SIC

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On 8 and 9 March 2016, the fourth monitoring visit to the project LIFE FAGUS was held in the Monti Alburni SCI.
During the first day, at the Museum of Natural Alburni in the old town center of Corleto Monforte, the evaluation of the technical aspects of the project through the analysis of the state of the art action by action, and the review of the administrative documents were carried out.
On this occasion, it was possible to visit the museum (http://www.museonaturalistico.it/), which is of particular interest since it has a rich collection of Vertebrates and Invertebrates of the European fauna (around 1200 European birds' species; over 60 mammals’ species and more than 20,000 specimens of crustaceans and insects).
The monitoring visit continued the following day with the practical verification of the conservation's concrete actions (C) implemented within the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni.
The Park's Director, Angelo De Vita, and the works supervisor, Emidio Nicolella, accompanied the monitor Riccardo Scalera, the National Contact Point of LIFE + Stefania Betti, and a number of project partners (Photo 1) at the forest stand of Ottati's municipality and at one of two stands of Corleto Monforte's municipality.
After verifying the existence of the notice boards placed near the access to the stands as foreseen by the project (photos 2-3), we proceeded checking on the field the planned actions C.
Ottati's forest stand was covered by a thick snow layer (Photo 4). During the visit it was possible to see: one of the fences erected to prevent grazing activities and to facilitate the regeneration of the tree species (Photo 5); different trees with nest holes; trees with basal slits (Photo 6); leaning and lying trees (Photo 7) and piles of deadwood in order to enhance the diversity of saproxylic organisms and of different species of fungi.
The visit to the Corleto stand was shorter and focused on the observation of the gaps created to foster the target species that in this area are represented by yew (Taxus baccata – Photo 8).


The concrete conservation actions are finished in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park

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During this autumn the concrete conservation actions (actions C) of the Life FAGUS project were concluded in the intervention area of Venaquaro, within the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. These actions were performed by foresters in about fifteen hectares of beech forest with yew and holly (Photo 1).
Among the various actions, thinning (C.2 Action) was specifically aimed at favoring the two species (i.e. yew and holly) that are considered as essential in the identification of a priority habitat (Habitat 9210*). Thinning resulted in about 750 m3 fuelwood and roundwood (Photo 2) that was given to the local administration that is in charge of using the forest on behalf of the citizenship of Intermesoli, of this amount of wood 198 m3 were directly used by the citizenship.
Besides thinning, techniques were applied with the specific aim of favoring animal and plant species typically associated with old-growth forests. Eleven gaps were created (Photo 3) leaving deadwood on the forest floor in order to create microhabitats for saproxilic communities (Photo 4), i.e. biological communities that need deadwood to develop and persist. The released deadwood encompassed different types in order to provide a range of microhabitats as wide as possible: 21 standing dead trees, 18 snags, 18 uprooted trees and five leaning trees were created.
Always pursuing the aim of favoring biodiversity, habitat trees were created: 16 trees with nest holes (Photo 5) to be used by various forest bird species, and nine trees with cavities for providing shelter to microfauna (Photo 6).
Since grazing activities may negatively affect the regeneration of yew and holly one area was fenced. The material for building the fences was transported through mules within the forests in order to cause the least disturbance to the ground layer vegetation and to the soil (Photo 7).

Photo 1Foresters after work  - Foto 1 Operai forestali dopo il lavoro.JPGVenaquaro Photo 2_ One of the gaps created in the Venaquaro - Foto 2 Una delle radure create nel bosco di Venaquaro.JPGVenaquaro Photo 3_wood to be used by citizenship - Foto 3 Legna dedicata all'uso civico.JPGVenaquaro Photo 4 Deadwood pile left for saproxylic organisms - Foto 4 Pila di legno morto per gli organismi saproxilici.JPG Venaquaro Photo 5 One of the nest_holes created in Venaquaro - Foto 5 Uno degli alberi-nido creati nel bosco di Venaqauro .JPGVenaquaro Photo 6 Cavity at the base of a tree - Foto 6 Cavità alla base di un albero.JPGVenaquaro Photo 7 Mules carrying the material to be used for fencing - Foto 7 Muli che trasportano il materiale per le recinzioni.JPG


The silvicultural intervention in the ‘Incodaro’ forest is now completed

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On November 8th, 2014, the selvicultural intervention in the ‘Incodaro’  forest (Gran Sasso and Monti dellaLaga National Park, municipality of Crognaleto) were finally completed. These interventions were part of the concrete conservation actions planned by the Life project FAGUS. Incodaro, is the second area (out of six) in which the interventions have been carried out so far, the first being Prati di Tivo (municipality of Pietracamela, Gran Sasso and Monti dellaLaga NP).
The intervention area was 11.23 ha, although only 6.16 were actually interested by the logging operations. The Incodaro forest, is a mixed stand of European beech and silver fir (Photo 1) that, according to the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), can be referred to the priority habitat 9220*. The selvicultural interventions were aimed at promoting the natural regeneration of silver fir and beech (action C.2). At the same time, the interventions were also aimed at increasing the biodiversity of: i. the herbs and shrubs of the understoreyand tree-dwelling lichens (action C.4), ii. the fungi and insects that inhabit the decaying wood (action C.6) and, iii.the birds that need dead or senescing trees for building their nest of for foraging (action C.8).
Only a small fraction of logged timber was harvested (i.e. 174.24 m3 - Photo 2), in fact more than 450 m3 were cut into pieces and released in the forest. In this way, both the amount of deadwoodlying (Photo 3) and standing (Photo 4) in the forest was substantially increased (action C.6). Deadwood piles (Photo 5) were also left in the wood in order to create a suitable habitat for the saproxilic fauna, i.e. for those animals that require deadwood for shelter or as a food resource. The harvested timber was given to the forest management authority, i.e. the ‘State Forestry Corps’ (UTB of L’Aquila).
In agreement with the prescriptions of the actions C.2 and C.4, during the interventions a total of 21 gaps with various extent were created in the forest canopy (Photo 6). Forest workers also recreated the large variety of habitat trees that is usually found in unmanaged forests (action C.8): such as eight den trees, ten nest holes (Photo 7) and ten basal slits (Photo 8). All these structures may provide shelter to different animal species. For instance, the collared flycatcher (Ficedulaalbicollis) may benefit of the nest holes that were created in the Incodaro forest, and this is particularly relevant since this passerine bird, which is usually found in temperate forests, is a ‘priority specie’ according to the Habitats directive. The interventions also recreated other structures that concur at increasing the heterogeneity of the forest, such as four uprooted and four leaning trees (Photo 9).
Finally, the foresters set up three exclosures (with an extent of ca. 5000 m2each – Photo 10). These exclosures will protect the regenerating forest from grazing disturbance caused by domestic livestock and wild ungulates (especially wild boars). On the one hand, theseexclosures will protect the seedlings and young saplings of European beech and silver fir, on the other hand, they will allow researchers to test the effect of grazing on the flora and natural regeneration of the forest.
The goals of the LIFE FAGUS project and the rationale behind the selvicultural interventions were described in dedicated educational panels that were positioned beside the access road to the Incodaro Forest (Photo 11). Warm thanks go to those that worked with passion and dedication to realize these interventions, especially two small forest enterprises: ‘Masci Diego’ based in Tottea, Nerito (TE) that worked in Incodaro, and ‘D’AbbondanzaLegnami’ based in Intermesoli, Pietracamela (TE) that worked in Prati di Tivo. Further thanks go to Domenico Di Marco, who supervised the harvesting operations.



The concrete conservation action in the area of Prati di Tivo are finished

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On October 10th the concrete conservation actions (actions C) of the Life FAGUS project were concluded in the intervention area of Prati di Tivo, within the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park.

These actions were performed in about eight hectares of beech forest with yew and holly. Indeed, thinning was specifically aimed at favoring these two species that are considered as essential in the identification of a priority habitat (Habitat 9210*). Thinning resulted in about 390 m3 of fuelwood and roundwood that was given to the local administration that is in charge of using the forest on behalf of the citizenship of Pietracamela (Photo 1).

Besides thinning, some techniques were applied specially aimed at favoring biological diversity, and in particular animal and plant species typically associated with old-growth forests. In this view ten gaps were created (Photo 2) leaving deadwood on the forest floor in order to create microhabitats for saproxilic communities (Photo 3), i.e. biological communities that need deadwood to develop and persist. Foresters released deadwood of different types as it occurs in those forests that were less subjected to human disturbance: seven standing dead trees, five snags, five uprooted trees (Photo 4) and two leaning trees were created.

Furthermore, always pursuing the aim of favoring biodiversity, habitat trees were created: eleven trees with nest holes (Photo 5), and nine trees with cavities for collecting rainwater and for providing shelter to microfauna (Photo 6).

Finally, fences (Photo 7) were set up in two areas in order to avoid grazing activities and therefore to favor yew and holly regeneration (Photo 8). The material for building the fences was transported through mules within the forests in order to cause the least disturbance to the ground layer vegetation and to the soil (Photo 9).



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Programma Life+

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LIFE+ è lo strumento finanziario dell’Unione Europea per la salvaguardia dell’ambiente, entrato in vigore nel 2007, che cofinanzia azioni a favore dell’ambiente negli Stati membri ed in taluni Paesi terzi che si affacciano nel Mediterraneo e nel Baltico, nonché nei paesi dell’Europa centrale e orientale candidati all’ingresso nell’Unione. Esso fa seguito al precedente programma LIFE istituito nel 1992.

Obiettivo generale di LIFE+ è contribuire all'attuazione, all'aggiornamento e allo sviluppo della politica e della normativa comunitarie in materia di ambiente, compresa l'integrazione dell'ambiente in altre politiche, contribuendo in tal modo allo sviluppo sostenibile. In particolare, LIFE+ favorisce l'attuazione del Sesto Programma Comunitario di Azione in materia di Ambiente (6° PAA) istituito dalla decisione n. 1600/2002/CE, e finanzia misure e progetti con valore aggiunto europeo negli Stati membri. Ove possibile, i progetti finanziati da LIFE+ promuovono sinergie tra diverse priorità nell'ambito del 6° PAA e l'integrazione. Inoltre, al fine di assicurare un valore aggiunto europeo e per evitare che siano finanziate attività ricorrenti, i progetti devono soddisfare almeno uno dei criteri seguenti:

  • progetti riguardanti le migliori pratiche o di dimostrazione destinati a dare attuazione alle direttive 2009/147/CEE (Uccelli selvatici) o 92/43/CEE (Habitat e specie);
  • progetti innovativi o di dimostrazione attinenti ad obiettivi comunitari in materia di ambiente, compresi lo sviluppo o la diffusione di tecniche, know how o tecnologie finalizzati alle migliori pratiche;
  • campagne di sensibilizzazione e formazione specifica per gli agenti implicati nella prevenzione degli incendi boschivi;
  • progetti finalizzati alla definizione ed alla realizzazione di obiettivi comunitari connessi con il monitoraggio a lungo termine e su larga base, armonizzato e completo, delle foreste e delle interazioni ambientali.

Il programma LIFE+ ha tre componenti:
1. - LIFE+ Natura e biodiversità;
2. - LIFE+ Politica e governance ambientali;
3. - LIFE+ Informazione e comunicazione.


LIFE+ Natura e biodiversità

E’ il programma, nel cui ambito specifico si inserisce il progetto Fagus, che si propone di:

a. contribuire all'attuazione della politica e della normativa comunitarie in materia di natura e biodiversità, in particolare della Direttiva concernente la conservazione degli habitat naturali e seminaturali, della flora e della fauna selvatiche e di quella relativa alla conservazione degli uccelli selvatici e in particolare di contribuire alla costituzione della rete europea di aree protette “Natura 2000” finalizzata alla gestione e alla conservazione in situ delle specie di fauna e flora e dei tipi di habitat più importanti dell’Unione, compresi gli habitat e le specie costieri e marini.

b. contribuire a consolidare la base delle conoscenze per la formulazione, il monitoraggio e la valutazione della politica e della normativa comunitarie in materia di natura e biodiversità;

c. fornire un sostegno alla messa a punto e all'attuazione di approcci e strumenti per il monitoraggio e la valutazione della biodiversità e dei fattori, delle pressioni e delle risposte che esercitano un impatto su di essa, specialmente in relazione alla realizzazione dell'obiettivo di bloccare la perdita di biodiversità nella Comunità considerando anche la minaccia rappresentata dai cambiamenti climatici;  

d. fornire un sostegno al miglioramento della gestione ambientale favorendo una maggiore partecipazione dei soggetti interessati, comprese le organizzazioni non governative, al processo di consultazione e all'attuazione della politica e della legislazione in materia di natura e biodiversità.

Incontro di stato dell'arte del progetto

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Il prossimo 30 gennaio alle ore 15,00 a Vallo della Lucania, presso il Centro Studi e Ricerche sulla Biodiversità, sito in via Montisani, sarà presentato agli attori locali del territorio lo stato dell’arte dell’importante progetto Life+ Natura: “Forests of the Apennines: Good practices to conjugate Use and Sustainability” (FAGUS), cofinanziato dalla Commissione Europea e di cui l’Ente Parco è Beneficiario Coordinatore.

Scopo dell’incontro, di cui sopra, è quello di informare le parti interessate  sulle importanti azioni previste dal progetto LIFE+ e di coinvolgere le parti a SOSTENERE, CONOSCERE, PARTECIPARE, SUGGERIRE, vivere il progetto.

Dopo l’ampia partecipazione registrata al primo incontro sul tema organizzato a maggio 2014, Amministratori Locali, Agronomi, Forestali, Agricoltori, Associazioni, Guide naturalistiche, tecnici hanno già confermata la loro presenza al secondo incontro  che prevede il seguente programma:


 Avv. Amilcare Troiano, Commissario Ente Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Vallo di Diano e Alburni


  • ·         Ing. Angelo De Vita, Direttore Ente Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Vallo di Diano e Alburni e Project Manager
  • ·         Dr.ssa Sabina Burrascano,  Ricercatore presso Dipartimento Biologia Ambientale Sapienza Università di Roma
  • ·         Dr. Francesco Maria Sabatini, Dottore Ambientale presso Dipartimento Biologia Ambientale Sapienza Università di Roma
  • ·         Dibattito con gli attori locali


Questo è il link al volantino dell'evento.