DUNETOSCA - Conservation of ecosystems in northern Tuscany

LIFE05 NAT/IT/000037

Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version  

Contact details:

Project Manager: Sergio PAGLIALUNGA
Tel: +39 050 525500
Fax: +39 050 533650
Email: conservazione@sanrossore.toscana.it

Project description:


One proposed Site of Community Interest (pSCI) and one Special Protection Area (SPA) are located in the coastal habitat of the Regional Park of Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli in Tuscany : Dune litoranee di Torre del Lago and Selva Pisana.

However, these two habitats of sand dunes and wetlands are threatened by invasive exotic plants and by erosion caused by visitors. This situation is particularly serious for bats (Chiroptera) whose reproductive and hibernating sites are under threat.

Two previous LIFE projects were conducted in the Regional Park, to conserve the coastal habitat of San Rossore and to reclaim the Massaciuccoli Lake as a carrying site for the bittern.


The aim of the project was to secure and enhance the dune habitats and the wetlands of the back-dune habitats in the Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli Regional Park.

The project intended to set up a plan to monitor plants, breeding birds and small fauna in wetland habitats. Specific measures were to be taken to maintain a reproductive colony of bats, a species of Community interest, and to stop the spread of exotic plant species. The project planned to introduce dedicated trails for visitors to reduce the impact of tourism.


The DUNETOSCA LIFE project achieved an overall improvement of about 80 ha of coastal ecosystems in northern Tuscany. Despite many challenges, particularly around the removal of the invasive Yucca gloriosa, this was a larger restored area than initially foreseen.

The beneficiary eliminated exotic plants (Amorpha fruticosa) to restore about 6 ha of back-dune wetlands with good results. An unexpected outcome of this action was the discovery of two new habitats included in Annex II of the Habitat Directive) in the "Dune litoranee di Torre del Lago" SCI: "Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp." ; and "Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnapotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation".

The project enlarged and improved the priority habitat calcareous fens with Cladium mariscus and species of the Caricion davallianae through the restoration of about 7 ha of wetland habitats in the "Selva pisana" SCI. The project worked to remove another exotic plant (Yucca gloriosa) from the priority habitat “Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp". However, many new Yucca gloriosa plants sprouted again during the last year of the project.

To protect coastal dunes from human interference and access by motor vehicles, the project closed around 100 unauthorized paths - 80% of the total - and installed 19 wooden platforms and green fences in the park over around 4ha. Awareness raising actions around the protection of coastal dune environments included the publication of brochures on bats and coastal habitats, information panels and a project website. The dunes were also enhanced by the planting of autochthonous species grown in nurseries.

The project targeted bat species in particular. It restored two buildings to host the main reproductive and hibernating colonies in Tuscany of the bat Rhinolophuis ferrumequinum as well as a colony of the bat Myotis emarginatus. It installed monitoring equipment to track the bats, which despite the challenge of the high humidity, helped increase knowledge of these species. The bats used the restored buildings successfully. Furthermore, monitoring of the bats in caves identified three new species of isopods.

Project monitoring actions showed successful recolonisation of the dunes and wetlands by plants and birds typical of these habitats. To ensure ongoing protection of the dunes and future work, for example, to remove Yucca gloriosa, the Park produced and approved five-year dune and wetland action plans.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Coastal


protected area‚  coastal area‚  wetland‚  nature conservation

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • COM(95) 189 - "Communication on the judicious use and conservation of wetlands" (12.12.1995)

Target species

 Myotis emarginatus   Rhinolophus ferrumequinum   

Target Habitat types

  • 1210 - Annual vegetation of drift lines
  • 2110 - Embryonic shifting dunes
  • 2120 - Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria ("white dunes")
  • 2210 - Crucianellion maritimae fixed beach dunes
  • 2250 - Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.
  • 7210 - Calcareous fens with Cladium mariscus and species of the Caricion davallianae

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Ente Parco Regionale Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli
Type of organisation Park-Reserve authority
Description Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli is a Regional Park in Tuscany, central Italy. The former hunting reserve is managed by a ten-member Council and a ‘Park Community’ made up of the Presidents of the two Provinces and mayors of the five municipalities in the park.
Partners Pisa Province, Italy


Project reference LIFE05 NAT/IT/000037
Duration 30-SEP-2005 to 30-SEP -2009
Total budget 1,100,000.00 €
EU contribution 499,950.00 €
Project location Toscana(Italia)


Read more:

Project web site Project web site
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version