A systematic monitoring of all species and habitats of Community interest in the region both inside and outside the N2K sites in Lombardy was never carried out . The “scientific monitoring program of the Natura 2000 network in Lombardy” (see final reports on plants, habitats and animals), produced under the Life GESTIRE project, represents a first step towards a long term regular and standardized monitoring system on the whole regional network.

The program, referring to obligations under Articles 11 and 17 of the Habitats Directive and Article 12 of the Birds Directive, has been designed in order to effectively contribute to the evaluation of the conservation status of habitats and animal and plant species in Lombardy and contains standardized protocols and indications for monitoring: 15 species of invertebrates, 12 of amphibians, 8 of reptiles, 33 of mammals, 25 of fish, 82 of birds, 6 of bryophytes, 3 of ferns, 18 of spermatophytes, and 57 habitats including 16 priority habitats.

Since the estimate of the costs of monitoring implementation was particularly burdensome, it required the development and the implementation of a strategy aimed at making specifically and effectively implementable and sustainable the monitoring program both from a technical/ organizational and economic/ financial point of view.

This requires an innovative path (action D3) to identify and exploit the potential resources of the territory involving not only the technical staff of the N2K sites management bodies, but also the general public interested in conservation and protection of biodiversity, particularly those already organized as associations or engaged in volunteer work in the environmental field who often have specific skills and important data and information on the species and habitats distribution.

The data collected will be stored in the Regional Biodiversity Observatory in Lombardy (ORBL) database, thus available on a continuous base for different tasks (i.e. for the elaboration of periodic reports under the Habitats and Birds Directives, verification of the effectiveness of the N2K management tools, checking and drafting of Appropriate Assessment studies, evaluation of the impact of policy or strategy not specifically related to the conservation of biodiversity).