Selve Costiere di Toscana

©UNESCO/Andrea Gennai
Selve Costiere di Toscana Biosphere Reserve

The Selve Costiere di Toscana Biosphere Reserve is situated along the Mediterranean coast of Italy to the west of Pisa between Viareggio and Livorno in the region of Tuscany. The reserve is rich in biodiversity comprising natural and semi-natural plain habitats, including dunes, wetlands, mesophytic woodlands and pinewoods, and agricultural zones with hedges. These habitats contain rare species that have otherwise disappeared from most of Italy and the Mediterranean region. Plains woodlands that are rare elsewhere in Italy cover extensive areas of the reserve.

About 11,000 people live in the reserve. The main economic activities are fishing, agriculture (organic agriculture and authocthonal breeding) and tourism (in particular bathing establishments).

Designation date: 2004 (extension and renaming 2016)
Administrative authorities: Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli Regional Park Organisation, Ente Parco Regionale Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli, reporting to Regione Toscana
Surface area (terrestrial and marine): 43,132.56 ha
Core area(s): 8,253.58 ha
Buffer zone(s): 16,874.58 ha (terrestrial: 15,927 ha; marine: 947.58 ha)
Transition area(s): 18,004.4 ha

Location
Latitude:
43°52’33”N – 43°34’50”N
Longitude: 10°14’10”E – 10°25’28”E
Midpoint: 43°43’42”N – 10°19’50”E

Ecological Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/Neitram
Purple heron (Ardea purpurea)

The Selve Costiere di Toscana Biosphere Reserve is situated along the Mediterranean coast of Italy to the west of Pisa between Viareggio and Livorno in the region of Tuscany. The reserve is rich in biodiversity comprising natural and semi-natural plain habitats, including dunes, wetlands, mesophytic woodlands and pinewoods, and agricultural zones with hedges. These habitats contain rare species that have otherwise disappeared from most of Italy and the Mediterranean region. Plains woodlands that are rare elsewhere in Italy cover extensive areas of the reserve.

The protection of dune environments is one of the main goals of the biosphere reserve. The coastal dunes are of particular interest due to the presence of sand-consolidating pioneer flora, endemic species and highly specialized animal species. The dunes are connected with the inland habitats through multiple symbiotic relationships, notably the protection they provide for woods against strong sea winds. The wetlands can extend for several hundred hectares (e.g. the Massaciuccoli marsh, Lame di fuori) and ensure the reproduction of numerous rare bird species such as the purple heron (Ardea purpurea), the great bittern (Botaurus stellaris) and the cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis). In areas further inland vast tracts of land have been historically used for agriculture and were developed in past centuries from swamp areas. The flora in these areas follow the rhythm of soil tillage, cultivation management, animal breeding and other agricultural activities.

Socio-Economic Characteristics

©UNESCO/Andrea Gennai
Vinyard

Some 70,000 people mainly of Italian origin live in the biosphere reserve. This figure rises to 315,000 in summer due to a large influx of tourists. The main economic activities are traditional agriculture, manufacturing (shipyards) or ex-manufacturing areas (quarries, tips), and tourism. The Selve Costiere di Toscana lowland is characterized by a complex mosaic of intensive and dynamic economic systems. Three towns and important logistic infrastructures are present in the vicinity, as well as a dense network of agricultural, forestry, industrial and craft enterprises, alongside tertiary sectors.

 

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Last updated in May 2016

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