The core activity of the implementation phase of Parco Italia focuses on pilot projects, specifically on the establishment of new forests and ecological connections between natural and semi-natural areas.
Pilot projects map
During the implementation phase, starting from April 2023, Parco Italia has planted over 15,000 trees and shrubs, with the objective of increasing the total number by an additional 25,000 plants by the end of 2023, and ultimately reaching a total of 70,000 trees planted by the end of 2024.
To identify suitable areas for the project and overcome challenges related to land availability, especially public-owned properties, the team adopted a multicriteria approach. However, the first fundamental step was to create a network of experts and individuals at the local level, including mayors, public administrators, forestry experts, and citizens. Through this network and by promoting participatory processes, we identified the best methods for the design, implementation, and management of the planting sites, even after the conclusion of the project.
Through a large-scale territorial analysis, the team identified priority areas with high ecological, cultural, and recreational value as starting points for regeneration, restoration, and reduction of ecological fragmentation interventions. These priority areas were integrated with other identified high-priority areas based on their contribution to the project's main objective. Subsequently, we overlaid these areas with the available land database, produced by the Parco Italia team - and constantly updated, in order to identify potential tree planting intervention areas.
The design, implementation, and monitoring of the tree planting sites are entrusted to local forestry experts, selected through specific assignments. The choice of tree species and planting design is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the characteristics of the land, the location of the areas, and the objectives of the future forest, always prioritising the criterion of species diversity and the coexistence of native tree and shrub species.
After the trees have been planted in the pilot projects, they will be monitored, using a standardised methodology across all sites. The survival of all the trees will be monitored through field visits to the plantation sites every six months, while the tree growth will be measured annually for 10% of the plants by monitoring the trunk diameter at breast height, the total tree height, and the crown radius. The evaluation process will also include measuring objectives related to ecosystem services, such as CO2 sequestration, PM10 pollution removal, habitat quality, thermal cooling, working man-hours for maintenance, and potential recreational use of the sites.