The study areas and Natura 2000 sites, where volunteers will carry out the monitoring of species and habitat, are the Nature Reserve Bosco della Fontana, the Nature Reserves Casentinesi Forests, and the Nature Reserves of Abruzzo and Molise.
The Nature Reserve Bosco della Fontana
It is located in the province of Mantova, it covers an area of 233 ha and represents one of the last relicts of the ancient lowland broadleaf forests of Po Plain. The main tree species are pedunculate oak and hornbeam. One of the main threats of the reserve is fragmentation, as the surrounding landscape has been significantly modified by human activities, in particular agricultural fields, rural settlements, industrial buildings and others infrastructure.
The Nature Reserves Casentinesi
They are represented by forest areas located in the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines, within the Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna. In these areas there are forest amongst the most natural of western Europe and consist of beech woods, mixed stands of silver fir and beech, and mixed deciduous broadleaf forests. In addiction old-growth beech forest and Sasso Fratino Integral Reserve are World Heritage site (UNESCO).
The Nature Reserves in Abruzzo and Molise
They consist mainly of mountain environments of altitudes between 900 and 2,200 m a.s.l. On the hillsides and in the valleys, the landscape consists of a mosaic of mature and old-growth forests dominated by beech trees. These forests, due to the limited accessibility of some steep mountainsides and to their management, represent unique examples of naturalness. High-altitude habitats with a high degree of naturalness are also present.
During monitoring activities, the volunteers will be lodged in guest houses owned by Carabinieri (in the study areas Nature Reserves Casentinesi and Nature Reserves in Abruzzo and Molise) or in hostels few kilometres from the study area (Nature Reserve Bosco della Fontana). All the accommodations are adapted considering the needs of volunteers such as beds, bathroom, common room for team work and social activities, refectory and Internet connection.