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Important Plant Areas of Italy

Number of IPAs: 320

IPAs cover 15% of the country

Moutainous costal region

A total of 320 IPAs have been identified in Italy (including 8 algae community sites), covering approximately 15% of the country. The Important Plant Areas project in Italy was promoted by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, where mapping IPAs in 2009 was the first intervention to conserve botanical biodiversity in the country.


Italy is situated in southern Europe, between the Balkan and the Iberian Peninsula. The boot-shaped peninsula protrudes into the Adriatic Sea, the Ionian Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Ligurian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. In the north, Italy borders with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.

Italy is one of the most diverse countries in Europe in terms of geography, flora and fauna. Northern Italy is mountainous with the high peaks of the Alps range and icy glaciers. The foothills of the Alps lie in the Po River Valley and the lake district, with flat plains crossed by rivers and streams. Central Italy is dominated by hills and mountains of the Apennines Mountain range which form the north-south backbone of the peninsula. In southern Italy and islands the landscape is rugged and mountainous, with Mount Vesuvius and Etna being the only active volcanos on European mainland.

IPA Project

The IPA project collected information on 1,393 species of vascular plants, with a total of 9,745 recordings. A total of 1,087 records of species and sites of interest were provided for bryophytes, lichens, freshwater algae and fungi, with 182 overall species. With 13,979 confirmed records, regarding 167 different types, the habitats provide, together with the vascular species, the most important database for the identification of IPAs. 49 new habitats of conservation interest were identified, 4 of which were classified as being of community interest for the first time.

Fewer than 50% of the IPAs are included in protected areas. Although more than 80% have some form of legal protection, the degree of protection and conservation management may vary considerably.


Further information

Important Plant Areas in Italy