Definition of priorities is fundamental in order to optimise wildlife conservation initiatives. However, the task has become increasingly difficult, subject to personal interpretation and therefore criticism. It is, in fact, extremely difficult to objectively quantify the series of ecological, biological and social parameters which contribute to making a species “deserving of particular attention”.
In trying to achieve uniformity (between taxa) and objectively determine the “Importance” of the species in the Animals Special Project as far as possible, a number of criteria summing up the characteristics of the populations were considered.
A score was given to each criterion and the sum of the scores for the various criteria was used to draw up a classification identifying the species on which to concentrate planning and operational efforts. It must be emphasised that the significance of the classification thus obtained is purely comparative and has no absolute value.
The table below lists the criteria used and their score.
|1. Geographical distribution
|Examines the distribution of the species and the size of the population in terms of numbers of elements. This attributed greater numerical importance to those species which seemed more closely linked to local habitats than to more common species.
|5 = Endemic species
4 = Species rare in the province (as well as being rare at Italian level, it is also rare in the province)
3 = Species rare in Italy (as well as being particularly rare in Europe, it is also rare in Italy)
2 = Species rare in Europe (present throughout Europe but with patchy populations)
1 = Species common in Europe (present consistently throughout the continent)
|2. Population dynamics
|This parameter considers the trend in numbers of individual species at European level. Above and beyond their rarity, a high value was attributed to those species whose numbers are dropping, compared with those in constant expansion which from a certain point of view needed less attention. Translating this concept into numbers, the classes alongside were obtained.
|4 = Species in generalised decline (numbers dropping everywhere in Europe).
3 = Species in decline in Italy (stable in Europe but in decline in Italy).
2 = Species in decline in the province (stable in Italy and Europe but in decline in the province).
1 = Species stationary in Europe (numerically stable throughout the European continent).
0 = Species on the increase in Europe (numbers increasing throughout Europe).
It is not possible to describe all the conservation and management measures proposed. Table 6 provides a summary.