The Belluno Dolomites National Park (PNDB) occupies the southernmost part of the Dolomites between the Cismon and Piave torrents. With its 31,512 hectares, it represents one of the best preserved mountain areas in the eastern Alps with an exceptionally high level of plant biodiversity. With the exception of the steinbock, it is also home to all the typical Alpine vertebrates.
The Park Plan (published in the Extraordinary Supplement of the Gazzetta Ufficiale no. 21 of 26-01-2001) defines strategies and criteria for managing and conserving the ecosystems and biocenoses, but delegates detailed definition of the activities to be carried out in the various sectors falling within the competency of the Park Authority to a series of “special projects”, including a number dedicated to animals.
The Animals Special Project (ASP) is a “Conservation Plan” aimed at analysing the interactions between animals and habitat and identifying measures to “conserve” the zoocenosis. The ASP therefore provides operational support to the Park Authority in planning future wildlife strategies.
The Project’s objectives are:
- to critically assess the state of available knowledge about wildlife in the Park area;
- to enter all available information in a Geographical Information System;
- to make operational conservation, study and research proposals;
- to define action priorities.
The conservation proposals have been drawn up with the aim of maximising all the possible benefits deriving from the presence of animals and have been chosen not just for their ecological validity, but also for their compatibility with the environmental and social situation in the area.
The benefits deriving from animals in a protected area can be divided into three categories: ecological, economic and aesthetic.
- Table 1. Benefits relating to the presence of animals
- Table 2. The Animals Special Project working group
- Table 3. Summary of invertebrates surveyed in the BDNP
- Table 4. Summary of vertebrates surveyed in the BDNP
- Table 5. Criteria for the identification of the important species in the Park
- Table 6. Summary of the proposed measures
A total of 84 proposals have been drawn up, divided as follows: 15 environmental improvement, 27 basic monitoring, 20 active species management and 22 research projects. Many of these are already underway or in an advanced stage of planning.
Geographical Information System
All data on Park wildlife has been entered in a database integrated in a Geographical Information System. This enables maps to be produced showing the current distribution of the various species and by integration with data already available on types of forest and herbaceous associations (deriving from the “Forestry” and “Grassland Improvement” special projects) will allow processing in the future with environmental suitability models.
The Animals Special Project has been designed to achieve two main objectives: to review the state of knowledge about species present in the Belluno Dolomites National Park and to identify a series of measures to be implemented in the future to facilitate conservation.
The approach of the entire project is aimed at considering the entire zoocenosis present as completely as possible, while being aware that social interest leans heavily towards the taxa traditionally easier to perceive and utilise directly.
The Animals Special Project has therefore also tried to tackle problems associated with groups of animals often neglected by planning (small mammals, bats, carnivores, etc) which in a protected area (but not only) should have “equal dignity” as the species traditionally studied.