Isole di Toscana Biosphere Reserve

The Isole di Toscana Biosphere Reserve was recognized in 2003, then in 2015 as part of the periodic review and reconfirmation of the MAB Program, it was extended to the current perimeter and zoning including the seven islands (Gorgona, Capraia, Elba, Pianosa, Montecristo, Giglio and Giannutri) and a large portion of sea surrounding them, involving a total of 10 municipalities (Campo nell'Elba; Capoliveri; Capraia Isola; Isola del Giglio; Livorno; Marciana; Marciana Marina; Porto Azzurro; Portoferraio; Rio). The Isole di Toscana Biosphere Reserve contains a great geological, geomorphological, biological and cultural diversity representative of the Mediterranean region.

Among the main natural values there are the 15 sites of the Natura 2000 network between Sites of Community Interest and Special Protection Areas (according to the Habitats and Birds Directives), in addition to 22 types of natural habitats and 37 species of animals of Community interest. Among the representative habitats we find: evergreen sclerophyll woods, Mediterranean pinewoods and maquis, chestnut and deciduous oak woods; while among the rare and endemic species: peregrine falcon, the Mediterranean horseshoe bat and the red-haired swallow. Very important is the incredible range of geological, geomorphological diversity including an assortment of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. For all these characteristics, moreover, part of the territory of the Biosphere Reserve falls within the Tuscan Archipelago National Park (the largest marine park in Europe) and the International Sanctuary of Marine Mammals of the Mediterranean.

These territories have been frequented by man since prehistoric times. In fact, in the Islands of Tuscany, there are about 30 prehistoric sites, numerous Etruscan sites linked to mining activities and some remains of Roman maritime villas. In this archipelago man has worked with nature over the centuries, shaping it and exploiting its resources, preserving its exceptional geodiversity and extraordinary biodiversity. In fact, here you can find rare endemic plant and animal species, as well as a rich benthic and fish population.

The main economic activity is linked to tourism, still mainly seaside, but increasingly connected to the knowledge of nature and experience. Other economic activities are agriculture and fishing (with a typical rich and genuine gastronomy with products such as the sburrita, the corollo or the famous wine, the Aleatico), although with a lower environmental and socio-economic impact than tourism and strongly connected to it.