What does habitat mean?
Habitat is defined as an area with specific physical and environmental characteristics in which certain animal and plant species live.
There are many types of habitats, many of which are very fragile and threatened by mankind, which therefore need to be protected in order to continue to exist.
The Habitats Directive of the European Union (92/43/EEC) protects habitats at risk through the establishment of SACs, Special Areas of Conservation, i.e., areas in which habitats are actively protected. These areas are part of a larger network of protected areas called “Natura 2000”.
Why are they important?
Habitats are very important because they offer protection and guarantee life to many species. By destroying a habitat, we trigger a chain reaction that will lead to the disappearance of all those species that populate it, altering the natural balance of that particular area and losing biodiversity.
Indeed, the main causes of extinction are the loss and degradation of the habitat due to over-exploitation by humans or the introduction of alien species.
Protecting a habitat therefore means protecting all the species that inhabit it.
Which habitats do we want to protect?
The Habitats Directive of the European Union (92/43/EEC) indicates the main habitats to be protected.
Referring to the Natura 2000 site of the Giglio Island, the main habitats to be protected are:
- Vegetated sea cliffs of the Mediterranean coasts with endemic Limonium species (1240);
- Mediterranean temporary ponds (3170*);
- Oligotrophic waters containing very few minerals generally on sandy soils of the West
- Mediterranean with Isoetes species. (3120);
- Low formations of euphorbia close to cliffs (5320);
- Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals of the Thero-Brachypodietea (6220*);
- Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation (8220);
- Quercus ilex and Quercus rotundifolia forests (9340);
- Mediterranean pine forests with endemic Mesogean pines (9540).
The number in brackets refers to the habitat identification in the European regulation 92/43/EEC.