Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity

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Once upon a time there was biodiversity. Once upon a time there were many animal and plant species. In the fairy tale, which begins like this, it is man who plays the part of the bad guy. Apart from the loss of biodiversity caused by natural disasters, many changes in habitats are linked to the profound changes in the territory made by man. In several countries the loss of biodiversity is continuous, due to the destruction of natural or semi-natural habitats, to build roads, ports and airports, shopping centers, parking lots, homes. The costs are borne by the countryside, the forest, the wetland and the prairie. Every year rainforests are reduced to make room for intensive agricultural production. Many wild areas are destroyed to take plants or parts of plants for the pharmaceutical or cosmetic industries. 

The loss and/or alteration of biodiversity endangers the functionality and survival of natural ecosystems. Every species that dies out is lost forever, and, with it, the relationships that bind it to other species and that determine the functioning of natural systems. With natural species we also lose the possibility of identifying new substances and innovations useful to humanity, such as the active ingredients of drugs, which are offered to us by plant and animal species. It is like tearing apart a page of world history: the extinction of a species is an action that cannot be remedied.

 

The Convention on Biological Diversity. The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 14), which met in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, closed on 29 November. The meeting, which was attended by delegates from the 196 Parties to the Convention, as well as representatives of civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples, local communities and young people, focused on "Investing in Biodiversity for People and the Planet". The Convention's policy platform calls for increased efforts to halt the degradation of biodiversity and protect the ecosystems that sustain billions of people around the world.

 

 

We "fly" high in the MARISTANIS areas. The highest number of bird species has been observed in the ponds of S'Ena Arrubia and Mistras.

In the MARISTANIS areas there are some globally endangered species such as the skylark (Alauda arvensis), the wild turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur), the pochard (Aythya ferina) and the lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) and included in the list of species SPEC1 in the last BirdLife report 2017.

SPEC 1 indicates the species present in Europe and considered of global conservationist interest, as it is included in the IUCN Red List which indicates species threatened with extinction, close to a state of threat or for which there is not enough information. In the MARISTANIS area we also have the following target species of conservation interest, whose protection requires the simultaneous conservation of the habitat in which they live or reproduce: kentish plover, gull-billed tern, ferruginous duck,western swamphen.

 

Different and to be protected. Other animals of conservation interest also frequent the sites in the province of Oristano. As far as fish are concerned, it is important to highlight the presence of the South European toothcarp (Aphanius fasciatus) in all six Ramsar areas. Among the different species of mammals, Chiroptera (bats) are worth mentioning. Their presence is known in several of the lagoons of the MARISTANIS project (although only attested for the site of Corru S'Ittiri - San Giovanni - Marceddì).

It is important to underline the presence of several species of reptiles such as the increasingly rare European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis), Hermann's tortoise, the marginated tortoise and the common turtle (Caretta caretta), the latter only for the Pond of Mistras. 

 

Plants: in Sardinia the hot-spot of biodiversity. The treasure chest boasts many jewels, even among plant species. Among those of greatest value and extremely small area should be remembered several species of the genus Limonium as the Limonium oristanum, for the lagoon of Mistras and the Limonium pseudolaetum for the Salt Pond 'e Porcus: this kind of plant shows in Sardinia a large number of endemisms.

Among the other plants of naturalistic interest present in the 6 Ramsar areas of the province of Oristano, the Romulea requienii present in 4 out of 6 sites and the Cynomorium coccineum, a parasitic plant of plants of the genus Atriplex, whose characteristics have aroused the interest of some research centers that study its characteristics to evaluate the possibility of its use in medicine, deserve a mention.

Among the plants of the genus Atriplex, it is worth mentioning the "Zibba" (Atriplex portulacoides) used for the preparation of the "Merca", a fish dish of the culinary tradition of the Municipality of Cabras.

 

Maristanis for the protection of biodiversity. Within the MARISTANIS project, several activities aim to implement actions that reduce pressures on biodiversity. In particular, strategy 6 of the project aims to improve the conservation status of endangered species and habitats and is divided into two actions: one to improve the conservation status of endangered species and habitats (habitat reduction = first cause of biodiversity loss) and the other linked to the reaction of local species to the invasion of alien species. The introduction into a territory of non-native species, i.e. originating from other geographical areas, represents a danger. ISPRA (Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) has estimated that about 20% of cases of extinction of birds and mammals is attributable to the direct action of animals introduced by man. This can be due to several causes: competition for limited resources, predation by the introduced species and the spread of new diseases. In close relationship with all the local actors who want to safeguard the environment in which they live, MARISTANIS wants to represent a garrison for biodiversity, as well as a stimulus to greater knowledge of the natural and cultural heritage of the territory.