Status: in progress

Categorization: tourism, habitat and biodiversity, local development

Country: Italy

Period: /

Contact info

Name: Gabriella Buffa

Organization: Università Ca Foscari Venezia


Contact address:


Summary description: The LIFE REDUNE project “Restoration of dune habitats in Natura 2000 sites of the Veneto coast”, co-financed by the European Union and led by researchers from the Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics of the Ca ‘Foscari University of Venice, with the partnership of the Veneto Region, Veneto Agriculture, EPC srl and SELC soc. coop., has been active in the restoration and conservation of the habitats typical of coastal systems in the areas of Bosco Nordio, Peninsula of Cavallino, Laguna del Mort and Pinete di Eraclea and Laguna di Caorle and Foce del Tagliamento.

Type: project

EU Challenges for sustainable tourism: (i) preserving and giving value to natural and cultural heritage and diversity, (iii) enhancing local community prosperity and quality of life, (v) limiting the environmental impact of tourism-related transport, (vii) improving the quality of tourism jobs, (viii) mitigating and adapting to climate change

EU Principles: (i) taking a holistic and integrated approach (economic, social and environmental aspects), (ii) planning for the long term, (iii) involving stakeholders, (v) promoting awareness and commitment

Reason of interest for COASTING: Restoration of habitats of Natura 2000 site. The Life Project is a good example of environmental management and restoration of a site with high anthropic pressure. Actions regarding the environmental education dedicated to the touristic operators and tourists. The project fosters interesting topics on the management of the pressures generated by the tourist use of the territory and mitigation of the anthropogenic pressure on such relevant and critically endangered ecosystems.

Financial information

Budget: 1,203,000.00 €

Financial sources: Co-financed by the European Commission with the contribution of the EU LIFE Programme

Background information

Territorial context: Despite their distinctive value, the dunal ecosystems share a long history of exploitation and mismanagement. Dunes are among the most vulnerable ecosystems worldwide, their formations are based on a delicate balance of natural and anthropic processes two factors that are strongly connected but often in contrast with each other. Life REDUNE operates in sites in crowded tourist areas highly populated during the summer season. Great resources and attention are dedicated to the tourism sector which on one hand undeniably represents one of the most important elements of the regional economic system but on the other brings a series of concrete threats to the dunal ecosystem. The project Life REDUNE has the aim of conserving and restoring the dunal ecosystem The problems associated with coastal use include: • Loss of habitats • Loss of the natural landscape pattern • Spread of alien species • Growing threats to native species • Loss of resiliency by plant communities

Relation to policies and strategies: Natura 2000 network of protected areas - National Environmental Code D.Lgs 152/2006

Regulation framework: In the Italian legal system, negotiated programming “accordo di programmazione negoziata” is defined by law n.662 / 1996, article 2 paragraph 203 letter a. The main regulations concerning Environmental Contracts are the National Charter of River Contracts (2010). The regulatory framework regarding the environment in Italy is the National Environmental Code D.Lgs 152/2006 art. 68-bis.

Specific information

Objectives: The general objective is to restore and maintain the ecological integrity of 5 dunal habitats and Stipa veneta* populations in 4 Natura 2000 sites present along the Adriatic coast, through an ecosystem approach that considers all components involved (human activities, habitat, species and physical processes)

Developers (and governance): Università Ca Foscari Venezia (Venezia - ITALY)

Beneficiaries: Local communities and tourists.

Innovation aspects: The ecosystems have been monitored and measured for four years with both the use of drones and field surveys, the monitoring consented to fully understand the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on the dynamics of beaches and dunes and a clear correspondence between the density of tourists and the height of the shift in dunes has emerged the average height of mobile dunes in areas with high density, such as those very close to the excess roads are lower than in less populated areas. 5 guidelines were produced on the environmental awareness topic specifically designed for tourists and stakeholders.

Actions: PREPARATORY ACTIONS Preliminary and executive planning of the interventions; Consultation with stakeholders. CONSERVATION ACTION Restoration of 92,000 sq.m of shifting dunes, using low-impact engineering techniques; Redevelopment and expansion of 823,000 sq m of dune habitats; Planting of 151,000 individuals of native species, Eradication of Oenothera stucchii. EVALUATION OF THE CONSERVATION MEASURES EFFICACY Monitoring of anthropogenic threats related to tourist use; Monitoring of habitats and populations of target species; Assessment of the social and economic impact generated by the project’s actions, local stakeholders and users of the involved areas. ECOLOGICAL AWARENESS Promotion of project methodologies and the results achieved; Guidelines on the containment of Oenothera stucchii; Guidelines on the use of drones to monitor beaches; Organisation of environmental education events for tourists and tour operators; Networking with beneficiaries of other projects on dune habitats.

Stakeholders involvement: 14 stakeholders are involved in the project belonging to 3 main groups: local municipalities, association and local authorities, tour operators

Results achieved: Thanks to life REDUNE, 92 hectare of habitat have been recovered planting more than 150,000 new plants produced in the nursery from seeds collected on site. The presence of alien species, was reduced and Stipa veneta was saved. The project foster a high level of ecological awareness on tourists and stakeholders.

Potential for learning and transfer

Challenges and obstacles: Life REDUNE biggest challenge was to make practical interventions sustainable over time. But the long-term sustainability of the interventions can only be based on an increase in awareness of all stakeholders. Another big challenge was planning access to the beach correctly and eliminating the habit of walking on the domes or settlements with umbrellas and towels since prolonged trampling, both by humans and their pets weaken the plants.

Success factors: Life REDUNE through a series of environmental education meetings, involved, tourists residents, tour operators, and public administrations to reach a ecological awareness of all users of the beaches.

Transferability in COASTING project: The methodology used shows good potential for application in different coastal contexts. The habitats taken into account is present in a broad range of sites in the Mediterranean basin and are highly threatened and of significant interest for conservation. During the project, progress was developed 5 guidelines on the theme of dune ecosystem conservation, monitoring, and ecological awareness. Some of these can be adapted to other Mediterranean environments with similar habitats and conservation issues.