Integrated MAnagement and Grant Investments for the N2000 NEtwork in Umbria
Reference: LIFE19 IPE/IT/000015 | Acronym: LIFE IMAGINE UMBRIA

LIFE IMAGINE UMBRIAs main objective is to create an integrated management system to achieve the conservation objectives of the EUs Habitats and Birds directives in an economically and technically sustainable way. Management policies and actions will be developed, aiming at: i) the proactive management of habitats and species; ii) the coherence of the Natura 2000 network and areas in between (ecological and landscape connectivity); iii) the training of professionals for the management of the Natura 2000 network; and iv) the involvement of citizens.

A prioritised action framework (PAF) designed within the SUNLIFE project already defines the type of measures to be implemented through LIFE IMAGINE UMBRIA to achieve the regions priorities.

These priorities are: i) improving governance, integration and harmonisation of regional plans and regulations for proper management of the Natura 2000 network; ii) maintaining and improving the conservation status of habitats and species, including climate change mitigation and adaptation measures;  iii) increasing awareness of and information about Natura 2000 areas; and iv) monitoring the conservation status of habitats and species protected by the Habitats and Birds directives.

LIFE IMAGINE UMBRIA will therefore help meet the obligations of the Habitats Directive including the PAF, a strategic planning tool for detailing the measures needed to implement the Natura 2000 network and its associated green infrastructure. The project will also contribute to the implementation of the EUs Birds Directive and Invasive Alien Species Regulation as well as to the regional strategy for the management of the Natura 2000 network (for the period 2015-2020).

In addition to the project budget, LIFE IMAGINE UMBRIA will facilitate the coordinated use of an estimated 26 million in complementary funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).


Expected results:

  • Harmonisation of regional legislation on nature protection;
  • Improved conservation of habitats and species of community interest;
  • Management of invasive alien species (IAS), based on identified priorities and the feasibility and effectiveness of the planned interventions;
  • Creation of innovative governance models based on: synergy with landscape protection, tourists use of the natural environment, eco-sustainable development, public-private agreements and forms of self-financing (non-financial reports, PES payments for ecosystem services), and facilitated access to funds;
  • Enhancement of ecological connectivity in areas identified as strategic for connecting Natura 2000 sites or populations of species of community interest;
  • Establishment of long-term monitoring activities of habitats and species;
  • Awareness-raising actions on the Natura 2000 network, the impact of tourism, green jobs opportunities, IAS control and adopted management plans; and
  • Promotion of sustainable tourism and green employment.


Umbria is one of the smallest Italian regions (almost 8 500 km2). Located in a transition area between the Mediterranean and Continental biogeographical regions, it is highly heterogeneous and rich in environmental diversity. This is due to a large variety of rock types, a wide altitude range (about 2 400 m), a wide spectrum of climatic conditions and historical human settlements, mainly concentrated on the major plains. The regional Natura 2000 network is made up of 102 sites (5 special protection areas and 97 special areas of conservation), accounting for 16% of the regional territory which translates into a total area of about 140 000 ha. The regions Natura 2000 sites host 41 habitats of community interest (including 11 priority habitat types), as well as 143 animal species (4 priority) and 8 plant species of community interest. In order to meet the conservation objectives, ensure the networks ecological coherence and contribute to regional development objectives, Regione Umbria drafted an integrated, unified and participative management strategy. This was achieved through the SUNLIFE project (LIFE13 NAT/IT/000371, which ended in 2018), coordinated by the regional authority. SUNLIFE formed the basis for this integrated project as it identified the critical elements and potential actions to be taken in terms of nature conservation and integration of conservation measures into various regional policies.


Il progetto LIFE IMAGINE è un progetto LIFE integrato della durata di 7 anni (2020-2027) che nasce con la finalità di sostenere lo sviluppo di una strategia integrata, unificata, coordinata e partecipativa di gestione della rete Natura 2000 nella regione Umbria. Le attività svolte nell’ambito del progetto avranno un ruolo rilevante per la conservazione e il mantenimento delle zone umide e degli habitat agricoli e forestali nel territorio regionale, e consentiranno la realizzazione di un’ampia gamma di interventi concreti per aumentare la connettività degli ambienti acquatici e terrestri, creando corridoi ecologici che le diverse specie target terrestri e acquatiche potranno utilizzare. Il progetto prevede inoltre interventi concreti di conservazione per molte specie: grandi carnivori, uccelli, anfibi, rettili, chirotteri, pesci, invertebrati. Le azioni interesseranno tutti i 102 siti della Rete Natura 2000 nel territorio regionale umbro, ma molte azioni del progetto avranno ricadute positive anche al di fuori della rete. Il progetto IMAGINE deriva dall’esperienza maturata nell’ambito di un precedente progetto LIFE terminato nel 2018 (SUNLIFE, LIFE13 NAT/IT/371, 2014-2018), che aveva consentito di mettere in luce gli elementi di criticità nella gestione della rete Natura 2000 e individuare le azioni prioritarie da intraprendere integrandole con le diverse politiche regionali.


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