SUSTAINABILITY

Protecting nature means safeguarding the synergistic patrimony of Franciacorta, made up of countryside and lakes, agriculture and vineyards, food, wine, tourism, art and nature.
Safeguarding biodiversity is not only a moral obligation, it is a necessity: we must protect nature in order to protect ourselves.
Our commitment to the Heron, is a promise made to its natural habitat, wherever that may be, especially when it is within the magical territory of Franciacorta.

Safeguarding biodiversity is not only a moral obligation, it is a necessity: we must protect nature in order to protect ourselves. Through the support of Project Purpurea, Centinari aims at contributing in raising awareness on this protected species, therefore supporting appropriate measures of long-term protection and conservation.

Adoption means taking care, and following up- close. We can do this with Project Purpurea: by applying a small “backpack” weighing only a few grams, containing a micro GPS on the shoulders of the Heron, we can follow its movements in real time, day after day and wherever it goes in the world.

Anyone can connect to the Animal Tracker App, which is free for any mobile device: by entering the chosen Heron’s nickname (for example try ‘Beppe’, ‘Mauro’ or ‘Zlatorog’), or simply ‘Ardea purpurea’ it is possible to see all of the movements in the last 12 months of the Herons equipped with GPS.

The transmitters are tiny solar powered devices, made of hypoallergenic materials. They have been built to last over time, but all too often may be damaged by external factors. “ Unfortunately, it is very difficult to continually track animals over a number of years”, explains Michelangelo Morganti. In any case, this research is fundamental in understanding the behaviour of the Purple Heron during reproduction, therefore in summer and migration. Where they go when they leave and what path they choose to follow, how they interact with the wind and what places they choose in Italy and Africa.

This is a very important aspect of the research, because it gives us information on what type of habitat we need to safeguard in order to protect the species. Our commitment to the Heron, is a promise made to its natural habitat, wherever that may be, especially when it is within the magical territory of Franciacorta.

Project Purpurea

While researching information on the Purple Heron on the web, we came across a very interesting project: Purpurea, which aims at following the nesting movements of the Purple Heron with satellite devices in Northern Italy. The project takes its name from the Latin name for the species: Ardea Purpurea. The project is coordinated by Michelangelo Morganti, researcher from the CNR IRSA, who continues the project that was born in 2018, from when he was working at the Environment and Earth Science Department of the University of Pavia. This department has been studying the trends of the Heron population in Lombardy and Piedmont since 1972. Thanks to this long term series of data, researchers have been able to see how, the stopping of Heron hunting over the decades and the progressive extension of rice fields in the plains, have favoured the spread of Herons in the foothills of Lombardy.
“The Purple Heron is an especially demanding species in ecological terms, because it only nests in wetlands that are well preserved. The progressive degradation and landfilling of the Lombardy wetlands is severely compromising to the remaining population. Furthermore, the Purple Heron is a Trans-Saharan migrator and therefore is especially subject to the effects of climate change, which for many decades has progressively reduced the extension of the wetlands in Western Africa, ” explains Michelangelo Morganti.

Safeguarding a Habitat

Project Purpurea is aimed at studying the environmental preferences of the Purple Heron, in a land which is very anthropized as is Lombardy. Where the wetlands are true residual ‘island’ in the urban sea that surrounds them. Interest in the study not only lies in the tracks of the migratory paths from Lombardy to Africa, which are in themselves sustainably unknown, but also in identifying their environmental preferences during the nesting period and in the long phase (2-3 months) that passes between the end of reproduction and the beginning of migration.

However, climate change threatens the presence of these populations, in particular for those species that nest in Lombardy, but winter in equatorial Africa. This is the case of the Purple Heron, present in Lombardy with about 500 couples in 2016.

The data collected between 2018 and 2020 tells us that from Lombardy, Purple Herons travel about 4,000 km to reach their wintering destinations, especially concentrated in Western Sahel, in the same places where many of the immigrants that live in Lombardy come from ( e.g. Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea).

Among the goals of the project is that of discovering the paths followed in autumn and spring, which may be coastal, passing from Gibilterra, or transversely passing through the Mediterranean. In addition, to precisely identifying the typologies of environments where they feed throughout their entire yearly cycle.

METHOD & TERRITORY

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