Private Farms affiliated to WWF

Posted on 31 March 2005

In Italy, areas which are managed according to the principles which safeguard biodiversity are on the rise. WWF-affiliated areas are leading the way.
The President of the WWF Italy, Fulco Pratesi, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the first privately managed farm to adhere to the Programme of Affiliated Areas. The farm is Gaetano Besana’s Galbusera Bianca, which stretches over 27ha in the regional park of Montevecchia e Valle del Curone (in the province of Lecco).

WWF-affiliated areas are born from the understanding that numerous animal and plant species which require protection often cross through or live in territories that coincide with privately owned areas. The goal of the WWF-affiliated oases is to extend the application of certain essential methods for promoting biodiversity beyond specific protected areas. This environmental strategy, which directly involves private actors is already being implemented in several countries across Europe and WWF Italy is keen to realise the potential of these projects in its home territory.

The agreement between WWF and the Galbusera Bianca farm is just the beginning of this project. WWF's aim is to progressively expand the stretch of territory which is managed following criteria which protect biodiversity.

Fulco Pratesi commented ”We will be looking for those individuals who are interested in working with us to achieve a better management of their territories, by contributing to the protection, thereof, without sacrificing financial interests…”.

As the memorandum of understanding states, the WWF-affiliated farm will, wherever this is not incompatible with property rights or connected activities, adhere to the programmes of territorial improvement and environmental restoration proposed by WWF.

Antonio Canu, manager for Protected Areas and Oceans for WWF Italy, said: “It has been proven that a protected natural area achieves its objective of preserving biodiversity when it has a direct connection to the rest of the territory. This is even more so in the case of smaller areas which must inter-connect through an integrated network which enables the exchange and refuge of local fauna. In the areas with high population levels, such as the Pianura Padana, farmland which is managed following adequate criteria can become areas for the protection of biodiversity in themselves.”

WWF has chosen the Galbusera Bianca farm to pilot the system of affiliated oases and to fine-tune the protocol of understanding. The farm was chosen for its naturalness (it hosts 3 habitats which participate in the EU’s LIFE projects), for its location within the boundaries of a regional park, for its policy of farming by following the bio-dynamic method and valorising ancient varieties, for the employed techniques of bio-architecture, and for the use of solar energy in the restoration project it is currently undergoing.

Translation by Isabella Trupke