The MAESTRALE Life+ practice adopted an integrated approach for enhancing and protecting the coastal environments along Molise coast.
Coastal dunal habitats are among the most valuable ecosystem thanks to the presence of a high specialized fauna and flora. The Molise dunal habitats are considered relicts, because present in few places along the Adriatic coasts; for this reason it is very important to preserve it with specific project to integrate conservation and valorisation of naturalistic systems.
The MAESTRALE project had a dual important purpose:
1) specific conservation activities:
Requalification and recovery of the priority coastal habitats as Dunes with Pinus pinea and/or Pinus pinaster forests, Mediterranean ponds, Mediterranean salted steppes.
Protection of the Cisto-Lavanduletalia dune sclerophyllous scrubs and herbaceous dune habitats through boardwalks and bars, and planting of native plants.
Preservation of natural vegetation of the above mentioned habitats to contrast exotic invasive species, touristic impact, wet habitats degradation, lack of natural shelters for animals. In addition these actions were expected to have also positive effects on two taxa target of Community interest Chiroptera (bats) and Testudo hermanni (tortoises).
2) specific valorisation activities:
Dissemination of knowledge on ecosystem services of coastal dunes areas towards citizens, tourists, policy and decision makers.
Enhancement of cultural systems related to the Molise natural areas.
Development of sustainable tourism in the project areas in collaboration with municipalities.

Resources needed

The activities were carried out with the collaboration of local public/private stakeholders, with the use of EU and municipal funding, and private sponsorship. In fact, from the project activities have developed other tourist and environmental education activities by local private stakeholders.

Evidence of success

An important result was the approach of the administrations to the sustainable development of the territory; in fact the coastal municipalities are carrying out other cooperation projects among the actors of the territory starting from the results of the MAESTRALE using regional RDP funds.
the monitoring of indicators is in progress and will be published by 2019; will be evaluated: the degree of conservation, the percentage of tourist presences, and the hectares of natural areas recovered.

Difficulties encountered

Important is to mitigate the low public awareness: citizens and tourists are not always aware of the real ecological value and the ecosystem services that sand dunes offer.Many problems have been found in the collaboration with the administration due to the bureaucratic delays for concrete actions.

Potential for learning or transfer

We believe that these good practices can be potentially transferred:
1) in the sandy coastal areas of Mediterranean basin as they are everywhere over-exploited and subject to alien species invasion for the concrete conservation actions;
2) in all coastal environments for the integrated approach to harmonize the conservations of a fragile coastal landscape and touristic pressures/human activities for a sustainable development.
The success encountered in implementing these practices make us be very confident that also elsewhere they could be effective. Actually several European financial programmes allow the implementation of conservation and dissemination actions as those carried out through LIFE MAESTRALE project. Furthermore, the practice is a good examples on actions dedicated to the preservation and exploitation of coastal landscape, that can be affected by tourism without impacting on the environmental situation.

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Main institution
University of Molise
Abruzzo, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
December 2015
End Date
September 2018


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