The foreign ministry is "highly satisfied" with UN culture body UNESCO's designation of the Monte Grappa in the northeastern pre-Alpine belt as a biosphere reserve - Italy's 20th - the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
"The Foreign Ministry expresses its full satisfaction with these important results, the outcome of decades of work that has rewarded the work of numerous national and local institutions," said the statement.
"The recognition of the 'Monte Grappa' Reserve and the extension of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines Reserve also confirm the need to step up the efforts aimed at combating the effects of climate change and promote an increasingly balanced relationship between man and the environment," the statement added.
A total 25 municipalities have come together to form the Monte Grappa Biosphere Reserve, an area of 66,067.30 ha inhabited by 174,184 people. Located on the outcrop of a faulting, Monte Grappa’s landscape of snow tops and alpine meadows typical of the Dolomites, looks over the wider plain ecosystems of the Veneto and Po Valley.
The group of municipalities plans to attract newcomers and reverse the gradual depopulation that began at the end of the 19th Century by resuming forestry and pastoral activities. The biosphere reserve aims to serve to generate ideas and form a local platform for the green and circular economy, according to UNESCO
At this week's meeting in Abuja, UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme International Coordination Council also extended Italy's Appennino Tosco Emiliano Biosphere Reserve by 275,384 ha. This now covers a total of 498,613 ha, with a permanent population of over 378,424 inhabitants.
The site’s location on the geographical and climatic boundary between continental and Mediterranean Europe provides great biodiversity, with at least 260 species of aquatic and terrestrial plants and 122 species of birds, amphibians, fish and invertebrates of community and regional conservation interest, UNESCO said.