Since 1992, an ecological network has been established in Europe, embracing thousands of small biodiversity conservation sites that protect single habitats and animal and plant species.
This is the Natura 2000 Network, founded to protect the continent’s natural heritage by respecting the dictates of the 92/43/EEC “Habitats” Directive and of the 2009/147/EC “Birds” Directive“. In Italy, for example, Natura 2000 areas involve about 19 % of the national land territory and more than 13 % of the marine territory, but they are still little known to the general public.
Even if many of these sites are located in National Parks and Regional Protected Areas, they are often not known even to people who are very interested in them and excursionists, despite the high conservation value species they host. In many cases, this poor appreciation is due to the lack of information material, which is often difficult to access and full of technical terms that are difficult to understand except for insiders. Natura2000 marine sites, which have been instituted more recently than terrestrial sites, are even less identifiable and are often not even shown on nautical maps. Therefore, the need to enhance this heritage, which has great untapped potential, emerges.