The territory of Emilia-Romagna features three major geographic systems: the Adriatic coast, the Po Plain and the Apennines. Throughout the region the natural environment and human activity give rise to an incredible variety of landscapes and biodiversity. The protected areas in the region, which consist of 13 regional and 2 national parks, 14 nature reserves and several state nature reserves, coupled with the Natura 2000 network, sites of community importance (SCIs) and special protection zones (SPZs), occupy 13% of the territory. These areas represent the ecological and biological diversity of our territory and enable us to safeguard rare habitats, plants and animals under threat of extinction. From the park of the Po Delta, one of the most important river deltas in Europe, to the forests of the Casentina area, with ancient woodlands, to the historic park of Monte Sole, Emilia-Romagna is one of the regions with most to offer in terms of environmental richness and diversity.
Management of the regional parks is entrusted to park consortiums representing municipalauthorities within the protected areas, provincial authorities and mountain communities, as well as other local territorial associations. The consortiums’ priority objective is to preserve the Park’s natural and cultural heritage and landscape. Emilia-Romagna regional authority manages the entire System of Protected Areas and Natura 2000 sites through activities and policies aimed at consolidating, expanding and promoting this important natural system. Through regional law n. 6 of 2005 governing Protected Areas, the region strives first and foremost to update its policies on the protection and valorization of its natural heritage, shifting away from an approach that favoured targeted, sector-specific protection towards more holistic protection that considers the entire system. To foster greater awareness of these important natural areas, for a number of years now the Region has been producing a series of educational publications, brochures and pamphlets: a nature series comprising 16 volumes, a series of monographs on Protected Areas comprising 13 volumes, a boxed set of pamphlets, regional biodiversity atlases, posters on protected plant and fungi species, the annual magazine “Storie naturali” (Natural Stories), to name but a few. Furthermore, several nature documentaries have also been made, on a range of themes linked to the natural and forest heritage of our territory. The region’s protected parks system, “Parchi in rete”, has been online since 1997.