Monitoring

Monitoring is a fundamental measure for the effective control of the natural and environmental systems of the nominated property. This may be used as an instrument to control and manage ‘emergencies’, for example, immediately activating recovery measures in response to an unfortunately still possible cause of degradation. It is important to note that the Habitat Directive assigns SCI monitoring functions to the Monitoring plan, where, in the absence of evident threat, it is not deemed necessary to implement a specific Management Plan. In the presence of such threats, however, monitoring functions must be integrated into the Management Plan, alimenting and perfecting the cognitive process and acting almost as a feedback mechanism between the assessment of the status of the systems and the implementation of recovery and/or mitigation measures. In the latter case, the monitoring process is not only beneficial for the periodical assessment of the characteristics of the sites, but also for the evaluation of the detrimental effects caused by factors of disturbance and, as a consequence, for the definition and calibration of the necessary countermeasures. In this case, the five provinces each of which with the instruments of its own institutional and administrative autonomy – must determine where, how and when to intervene in the event of threats to the nominated properties. However, in the context of a future harmonisation of their technical activities, monitoring for UNESCO could be integrated with those actions prescribed by European Directives for the protection of habitats and species of Community importance. As it stands, many institutions involved in activities of environmental conservation and nature protection, such as parks, for example, already implement nature and environment monitoring programmes which, despite being conducted with criteria and methods that change from case to case, may still provide the most solid and reliable foundation for future harmonisation.