Protected areas and forest biodiversity conservation in mountain areas: critical issues and perspectives

Susanna Nocentini


In Italy the great environmental and biological diversity that characterizes mountain areas has been impacted for centuries by human activity. Parks and Natura 2000 sites are widespread in mountain areas, and forests comprise an important part of these areas. Mountain forest ecosystems are very sensitive to climate change, while the decline of traditional agriculture in these areas is favoring the natural forest expansion. These changes, together with the contrasting perception that sees conservation aims as conflicting with economic needs of the local population, could weaken the effectiveness of biodiversity and nature conservation in these delicate and important environments. Shifting from considering protected areas as a constraint to considering them as an opportunity, requires a collective effort, based on an inclusive and scientifically founded vision which considers mountain forest ecosystems as complex social-ecological systems.


biodiversity hotspots; traditional ecological knowledge; climate change; forest dynamics; forest resilience

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