Life Programs and best practices in the Gran Sasso Laga ParkSome of the biggest successes of the environmental policies in the Gran Sasso - Laga Park come from the LIFE community program. This is the financial instrument of the European Community, established in 1992 following the Community "Birds" and "Habitats" Directives, in order to contribute to implement and develop the community policy in the environmental field and the environmental legislation. In particular, the Park benefited from the European financing to implement the Apennine chamois reintroduction program through the project entitled "Conservation of Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata in the Central Apennines", launched in 1997, and through the Natura COEX Life project entitle "Improving coexistence of large carnivores and agriculture in south Europe", in order to make the coexistence between traditional zootechnical activities and large carnivores easier.
Life+ Projects underway with the leading Park
- The "Life+ Praterie" Project provides the Park as the only beneficiary, thus it actually involves all the operative services of the Park Authority. The project's aim is the long-term conservation of Campo Imperatore and of the other high altitude grasslands by boosting proper grazing practices, the cautious use of the accommodation infrastructures and the control of the tourist flow.
- "Life+ AQUALIFE" Project. Leader of the project is the Park, which is supported by several partners, such as the University of L'Aquila - Department of Clinical Medicine, Public Health, Life and Environmental Science - MESVA and the Region Abruzzi - Department of Parks, Territory, Environment and Energy. The project is co-financed by ENEL PRODUZIONE S.p.A., Adb Generazione, Produzione idroelettrica, Unità di Business Hydro Centro. The project's aim is to develop and spread an innovative Application Set for the use of a bioindicator system to assess the biodiversity loss in the Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystems (GDE) in the presence of different impact categories.
- "Life+ Pluto". "Italian emergency strategy for fighting illegal poisoning and minimize its impact on bear, wolf and other species". This project aims to foster the conservation of the bear (Ursus arctos*), of the wolf (Canis lupus*) and of the scavenging birds of prey by implementing in Italy those measures able to prevent and hinder the illegal use of poison, which is a phenomenon that represents one of the main threats affecting these species. The cornerstone of the LIFE PLUTO project is the use of Anti-poison dog units over most of the Italian territory.
The Park Authority is also partner of other four important Life+ Projects at the same time:
- Life+ M.I.R.CO-Lupo aims at safeguarding the wolf in Italy by reducing the impacts of stray dogs ("M.I.R.C.O." is the Italian acronym for "Minimizzare l'Impatto del Randagismo canino sulla COnservazione del lupo in Italia", which means "Minimizing the Impacts of the Stray Dogs on the Wolf Conservation in Italy"). The project involves 5 partners: the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park, the Gran Sasso and Laga Mountains National Park, the Italian State Forestry Corps, the Carsa Edizioni e Comunicazione company from Pescara and the non-profit organization called Istituto di Ecologia Applicata (Institute of Applied Ecology) in Rome.
- LIFE+ "CRAINat - Conservation and recovery of Austropotamobius pallipes in Italian Natura2000 sites", which provides the implementation of specific safeguard and conservation actions towards the species at hand and is implemented within the more than forty Sites of Community Interest (SCIs), in two territorial sectors: Northern Italy, with the Region Lombardy, and Central Italy, where the partnership includes the Region Abruzzi, the Province of Chieti, the Gran Sasso and Laga Mountains National Park and the Province of Isernia.
- Life "Coornata": "Development of coordinated protection measures for Apennine Chamois (Rupicapra Pyrenaica Ornata)", this project is led by the Majella National Park and supported as by the Park Auhtority, the Abruzzi, Lazio and Molise National Park, the Sibillini Mountains National Parks, the Sirente Velino Regional Park and Legambiente.
- Life+ Natura: "Forests of the Apennines: Good practices to conjugate Use and Sustainability" (FAGUS) is led by the Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park. The partners supporting the project are the Gran Sasso and alga Mountains National Park together with the Department of Environmental Biology of La Sapienza University of Rome and the Department of Innovation of the Biological, agricultural-food and Forestry Systems of the University of Tuscia.
Life+ Projects, conclusionsWithin the LIFE+ Program, the Park benefited from two significant projects. The first one is the LIFE+ EX-TRA (Experience - Transfer) "Improving the conditions for large carnivore conservation - a transfer of best practices", which involves not only the Gran Sasso national Park, the Sibillini Mountains and Appennin Tosco-Emiliano National Parks, but also the University of Brasov in Transylvania, the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water, the non-governmental organization called Balkani Wildlife Society and the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Society for Greece.
The aim is to foster actions able to encourage the long-term conservation of the large carnivores such as the wolf and the bear. The project's total budget amounts to 3 million Euros, 70% of which is financed by the European Union.
The second project is entailed ANTIDOTO, "A new strategy against the poisoning of large carnivores and scavenger raptors" and includes the Spanish "Junta" of Andalusia and the Aragon's Government. The Project's aim is to foster the long-term conservation of large carnivores such as the wolf and the bear, and the main scavenging birds of prey as well, such as the bearded vulture and the griffon vulture. To pursue this objective, the anti-poison dog units have been established; these units are already used in the Gran Sasso and Laga Mountains Park and in the Aragon's Region. They have been trained by experts from Andalusia, a region where the method of the dog units achieved good results. It is hoped for the use of illegal poisons to be stopped to help the populations of wolves, bears and scavenging birds of prey to survive. The project's total budget amounts to one and a half million Euros, 50% of which is financed by the European Community.