Protection of biodiversity

The Unipol Group supports the project Bellezza Italia” (Italian Beauty), a campaign that aims to study the impacts of climate change on natural ecosystems and to return compromised areas to beauty and safe use, helping them to become resilient to extreme events.

The following can be mentioned among the projects implemented as part of the campaign:

Pantelleria gardens

Thanks to the collaboration of the National Park of the Island of Pantelleria and the Department of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Sciences of the University of Palermo, over 400 gardens were surveyed on the island: a unique and complete work that provided a precious map with photos, descriptions, georeferencing and state of preservation of the gardens. Some of these, by type and location, have now been included in a discovery itinerary that allows visitors to appreciate the island from unusual and peculiar perspectives. The study of the Pantelleria gardens is particularly important in times of climate change because, for about two centuries, this type of construction has protected against particularly dry weather conditions providing a micro-climate that ensures the growth of citrus trees and plants traditionally grown indoors. These experiences are of great interest because they constitute good agricultural and land management practices capable of adapting to the climate changes already taking place.

Creation of a Mediterranean garden at Cantieri Culturali della Zisa (Palermo)

where the recovery has been planned of an old cistern conveying water to be used to water a roof garden with Mediterranean plants and shrubs created from scratch for educational purposes and for the public use of premises.

Paths of collective memory along the Rio Posada

This project concerned the study of climatic impacts, the enhancement and use of the mouth of the Rio Posada in the Tepilora Regional Natural Park, the “Tepilora, Rio Posada and Montalbo” biosphere reserve in Sardinia, recognized as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2017. Moreover, the river mouth area has been under the protection of the Ramsar Convention since February 2021. The mouth of the Rio Posada is a delicate biodiversity hot spot. However, being particularly exposed to extreme climate events, the vast wetland area presents a high risk of flooding: both in the inland areas, due to the abandonment of cultivations and reduced tree-farming capacity, and in the coastal strip, marked by increased human pressure due to seaside tourism, infrastructure management and bureaucratic formalities that have failed to take into account the area’s ecological balance for years, as when the local dunes were flattened to provide space for usable beaches. Works concerned the former Peschiera di Posada, an ideal hinge point between the natural area, the sandy coast and the hamlet of San Giovanni, one of the most popular locations during the summer season. The Casa del Parco and the new headquarters of the Centre for Environmental Education and Sustainability, managed by Legambiente Sardegna, will be built there. The intent is to make it a new important point of reference for visitors, from students on school trips to tourists searching for information on the protected area, as well as for the many hikers who travel across the river mouth by kayak.

“Guardians of the Campomarino Dunes”

This project included the redevelopment and use of the nature trail along the dunes of Campomarino di Maruggio, in the province of Taranto. The project was selected due to the strategic significance of the coastal dune system, which is unfortunately among the most vulnerable and threatened ecosystems in Italy, for the purpose of mitigating the risk of erosion and reducing the effects of climate change. The project ensured the preservation and maintenance of the existing vegetation, as well as the planting of native plants to restore the dune system. To reconcile environmental protection and sustainable tourist development, informative posters provide visitors with information on the vegetation present on site, on the importance of a dune system, and on the resulting need for protection of the naturalistic area on everyone’s part.

Cusio Observatory

A project to establish the first Observatory of lakes, the Cusio Observatory, on Lake Orta was launched in 2022, and represents a case study of recovery at an international level.

The aim of the Observatory will be to coordinate monitoring actions on an ongoing basis in order to understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and plan the adaptation of a lake area, identifying innovative scientific solutions and cutting-edge environmental sustainability practices. The results of this project will be made available to the local community and policy makers to initiate actions aimed at reducing air pollution and protecting the quality of water and the habitat.