The Acqua Panna reserve is an ‘open air’ laboratory of biodiversity

The results of the research activity are part of the project ‘The source of the biodiversity of Acqua Panna’, born from the collaboration started in 2020 between Sanpellegrino, Federparchi and the Sant’Anna School of Pisa

The Acqua Panna reserve is an ‘open air’ laboratory of biodiversity: 121 species of vertebrates, including 11 species of amphibians, 10 of reptiles, 66 of birds and 34 of mammals, odonates and pollinating insects populate the estate, formerly used as a reserve hunting from the Medici family and remained uncontaminated over the last five centuries. These are some of the evidence that emerged from the study and monitoring of the flora and fauna of the 1,300-hectare reserve in Scarperia, in Mugello, where Acqua Panna flows.

The estate is also characterized by a varied typology of vegetation: beech woods, mixed broad-leaved woods, woods of artificial origin and polyphite-type grasslands characterized by herbaceous forage species with an annual cycle and with numerous types of orchids. The results of the research activity are part of the project ‘The source of the biodiversity of Acqua Panna’, born from the collaboration started in 2020 between Sanpellegrino, Federparchi and the Sant’Anna School of Pisa. The study conducted by Federparchi made it possible to identify numerous plant species and representatives of all vertebrate groups, allowing the identification of a series of actions to be implemented to further protect this area of ​​great naturalistic value and strengthen its ecosystem.

The research, protection and conservation project of the Acqua Panna reserve, initiated by Federparchi, highlighted a good quality of the environment and a high heterogeneity of the ecosystem of the territory, for example by recording the presence of 66 species of birds, including species threatened, rare and protected such as the Red-headed shrike and the Torticollis evaluated as ‘endangered species’ on the national territory. In addition, the presence of little shrike, king of quail, nightjar and tottavilla, birds with unsatisfactory conservation status at national and European level, has also been identified and, among the amphibians, the presence of the spectacled salamander, the crested newt and probably of the Apennine howler, a species of community interest, considered in an unfavorable state of conservation and with a declining population in Italy.

At the same time, the Sant’Anna School of Pisa carried out a study to evaluate the ecological footprint of the reserve and further enhance its natural capital to reduce carbon dioxide, through insetting activities, in harmony with the protection of biodiversity. “We have always protected the territories in which our mineral waters flow, but the awareness that it is necessary to intervene to help counter the effects of climate change has pushed us to do more, giving birth, two years ago, to this important collaboration with Federparchi and the Sant’Anna School of Pisa – declared Stefano Marini, CEO of the Sanpellegrino Group – We are enthusiastic about the results achieved by ‘The source of biodiversity in Acqua Panna’, an initiative in line with Goal 15 of the 2030 agenda of the UN, which is now being strengthened by a new important element, the ‘Good Bee’ project to protect pollinating insects that play a vital role in contributing to the continuous regeneration of plants. We firmly believe that it is essential to act now and do our part to maintain biodiversity and promote the conservation of nature and our planet ”.

“Today the business world can actively contribute to the protection of ecosystems essential for the life of flora and fauna and the commitment of the Sanpellegrino Group and Acqua Panna is a virtuous example in this direction – says Giampiero Sammuri, president of Federparchi – For we, who are engaged every day in the management of protected natural areas, collaborating with companies is a great opportunity, because it helps us not only in the protection of natural habitats, but above all it allows us to share experiences and the possibility of using means to raising awareness of the population for the purpose of a more effective protection of biodiversity “.

“The transition to sustainability will require a profound transformation and rethinking of production processes, favoring on the one hand the use of nature-based solutions that sequester CO2 from the atmosphere and act by mitigating climate change, and on the other of strategies aimed at improvement of ecosystem services and the protection of biodiversity – declared Marco Frey, director of Sum of the Scuola Sant’Anna Pisa – In this context, we have helped Acqua Panna to implement a strategy towards zeroing its carbon emissions and restoring , the protection and strengthening of biodiversity and ecosystems of high value by framing the improvement proposals in an agroecological and development context through agroforestry practices “.

Improving the living conditions of pollinating insects is the first of an articulated series of initiatives that will be developed by Sanpellegrino to protect the biodiversity of the Acqua Panna reserve. The ‘Good Bee’ project, for example, takes shape today with the inauguration of the first Bee Hotel, a structure in wood, bamboo canes, bark and perforated wood that serves as a refuge for bees and diurnal butterflies, whose survival is seriously endangered by climate change, the use of pesticides and intensive agriculture. Sandy and bare soil microhabitats have also been created near the Bee Hotel to encourage the reproduction of pollinators. In addition, plant cultivation in the open field will be increased for the feeding of hymenoptera, hoverflies and diurnal butterflies, with the creation of hedges and rows of vegetables and fresh water microhabitats to favor the availability of water.