The Sicilian protected areas
After strong protests of the environmental movement and of the public opinion in the 1980s, the Sicilian Region was one of the first Italian regions to adopt specific legislation on protected natural areas: regional laws no. 98 of 1981 and no. 14 of 1988.
At present, the regional system of protected natural areas consists of 4 regional parks (Etna, Madonie, Nebrodi, Alcantara); 74 nature reserves established by the Regional Government; 7 marine protected areas set up by the Ministry of the Environment; 245 Natura 2000 sites instituted according to European directives, with a total area of around 20% of regional land. It is a large and complex natural and cultural heritage that must be protected, strengthened and enhanced to contribute to the “green” development of our Region.
The system of Sicilian protected natural areas is of great importance for the number and size of the areas, for the richness and diversity of the natural heritage and for the variety of subjects involved in the management (Managing Bodies, Provinces, Environmental Associations, Regional State Forestry Organization, University).
Sicilian legislation is one of the few in Italy to have considered to entrust
the management of nature reserves to environmental associations, with assignment to public functions. Such choice made it possible to enhance the dynamism and commitment of the associations, thus changing the nature conservation policies that remained unfulfilled for so many years.
Natura 2000 network
Natura 2000 is a network of the most important European sites with high naturalness and of their neighboring territories; it was created to ensure the conservation of biodiversity on the European continent. It is based on the European directives no. 92/43 / EEC (commonly known as the Habitats Directive) aimed at the conservation of natural and semi-natural habitats, wild flora and fauna, and n. 79/409 / EEC (commonly known as the Birds Directive), issued in 1979 for the protection of avifauna.
Natura 2000 network includes the Sites of Community Importance which, once approved by the European Commission, become Special Areas of Conservation, and Special Protection Areas. In Sicily, 245 Natura 2000 sites (both terrestrial and marine) have been identified, some lie within the territories of the protected areas.