Halting the loss of biodiversity and regenerating Italy’s natural capital for the wellbeing and health of all: these are the goals that WWF Italy has set with the new campaign ReNature Italy. Supported by Procter & Gamble as part of the corporate citizenship programme ‘P&G for Italy’, this initiative represents the largest renaturation campaign ever launched in Italy. In fact, the campaign aims to restore destroyed or degraded habitats on approximately 1 million square metres of green areas located across the whole the country.
In recent decades, human activity has caused the loss of around three quarters of terrestrial ecosystems and two thirds of marine ecosystems. Italy’s nature is among the richest in Europe, as it is located across two important ecoregions: the Alps and the Mediterranean. Today, this wealth is being lost at an increasingly accelerated rate: 50% of vertebrate species in Italy are threatened with extinction, while 52% of fauna species protected by the Habitats Directive show an inadequate conservation status. The environment is not in a better condition: 86% of protected habitats are in an inadequate or unfavourable conservation status; 64% of lowland forests and wetlands have been destroyed in the last century alone, while many others have been fragmented or degraded; 41% of monitored Italian rivers are not in an adequate state of conservation; finally, 80% of Italian lakes do not have a good ecological status, with the consequent loss of capacity to provide traditional ecosystem services, starting with the fight against hydrogeological instability and climate change.
The actions of the ReNature Italy campaign are divided into two main and interconnected strands: protect and restore. Protect aims to contribute to the achievement of 30% of land and sea area effectively protected by 2030 and to ensure the protection of key animal species such as the wolf, the Marsican brown bear and the otter. In particular, actions in this first strand will focus on completing the Natura 2000 network, creating new parks and improving existing ones and their management. On the other hand, Restore aims to restore degraded habitats, starting with three priority areas with the highest fragmentation. In particular, the goal of this strand is to restore at least 15% of the Italian territory, to allocate at least 10% of agricultural land to nature, and to restore the ecological continuity of at least 1,600 km of Italian rivers.
Within the ReNature Italy campaign, Etifor contributes by helping WWF Oases to obain international certifications of responsible forest management and verification of ecosystem services. In particular, Etifor deals with the collection and modelling of the data and evidence needed to obtain the certifications. With regard to the measurement and verification of ecosystem services, this applies to a total of 5 services: biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and storage, recreational tourism services, soil conservation and water regulation services.