Hunting in the Po river Delta Park is regulated by hunting permits and the related incomes are reinvested in wildlife and habitat conservation
Hunting, particularly duck hunting, represents a relevant activity in the Po river delta, due to the abundance of wetlands and the hunters’ demand. If not strictly regulated, hunting is a serious harm for wildlife and ecosystems. Hunting in Po river Delta Park is restricted to limited zones, regulated by specific rules and managed with the sold of a number of hunting permits (i.e. authorization card for a given time lapse).
The Park reinvests the cash incomes deriving by the sold of hunting permits in measures aimed at conserving and managing the ecosystems. Such measures also improve the fruition of the environment by hunters (i.e. the cleaning of the pathways, the maintenance of signs, surveillance activity, etc.). This represents an implicit Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme, aimed at regulating and controlling hunting while conserving wildlife and habitats and improving accessibility to natural areas.
The Park obtained the double advantage to avoid negative consequences of non-controlled hunting and improve accessibility to natural areas (e.g. woodlands) by users (e.g. tourists). Hunters benefit from the abundance of wildlife (e.g. ducks), guaranteed by a proper management of natural resources. Moreover, other users, such as birdwatchers and tourists, can have more easy access to natural areas
No external financial resources are needed. In 2018, the Park obtained from the selling of the hunting permits 205,340 €, which were completely reinvested
Evidence of success
The practice represents a solution for the control and management of an activity which could significantly harms natural resources. Even though hunting suffers for a general negative trend in the region, the amount of permits sold in the Park remained fairly constant over last years. A general increase in terms of access to natural areas was observed. The monitoring of bird communities in the Park territory will be performed in the future
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice can be exported to other natural areas where relevant potential pressures deriving from hunting are observed.
Making Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) explicit allows to a better implementation of existing practices. Informing users and providers on the ecosystem services involved and clarify relative monetary flows will increase awareness on the fundamental contribution of natural capital of the deltaic areas to human well-being
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