Integrating the Water Framework Directive into the Habitats Directive: Analysis of distribution patterns of lacustrine EU habitats in lakes of Lombardy (northern Italy)

  • Rossano Bolpagni | rossano.bolpagni@unipr.it University of Parma, Italy. http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9283-2821
  • Mattia M. Azzella http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0921-7890
  • Chiara Agostinelli Lombardy Regional Environmental Protection Agency, Italy.
  • Andrea Beghi Lombardy Regional Environmental Protection Agency, Italy.
  • Eugenia Bettoni Lombardy Regional Environmental Protection Agency, Italy.
  • Guido Brusa University of Insubria, Italy.
  • Cristina De Molli University of Insubria, Italy.
  • Riccardo Formenti Lombardy Regional Environmental Protection Agency, Italy.
  • Filippo Galimberti Lombardy Regional Environmental Protection Agency, Italy.
  • Bruno E.L. Cerabolini University of Insubria, Italy. http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3793-0733

Abstract

The existence of strong potential synergies between the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Habitats Directive (HD) is widely acknowledged. Indeed, ensuring favourable conservation conditions for aquatic habitats and species of conservation concern is closely related to the achievement of a good ecological status in water bodies. However, since these two sets of European laws are generally applied without any coordination, an inefficient use of resources may adversely affect their goals. The main negative outcome is an increase in the cost of monitoring programs for collecting data in nature (i.e., physical and chemical parameters, species and habitats, plant communities). The use of macrophytes as a bioindicator, as imposed by the WFD, may instead help to integrate data on aquatic EU habitats and enhance knowledge of such habitats outside the Natura 2000 network. The aim of present study was to evaluate the usefulness of data collected in WFD monitoring surveys as a means of inferring the occurrence and the distribution of lacustrine aquatic habitats in countries belonging to the European Union (EU). The main aim of the analysis was to identify the depth gradient distribution of diagnostic macrophyte taxa in two EU habitats (3140, i.e., Chara-dominated benthic communities, and 3150, i.e., natural eutrophic lakes) using data collected in lakes in Lombardy (northern Italy), some of which are included in the Natura 2000 network (10 out 16). While recognizing the limitations of the data collected within the two frameworks, the results confirmed the marked usefulness of WFD data as a means of enhancing the knowledge available on lacustrine aquatic habitats in the EU. WFD data can actively help to improve the basic information on aquatic habitats, thereby more effectively supporting regional strategies for biodiversity conservation as well as recovery programs.

 

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Author Biography

Rossano Bolpagni, University of Parma
Department of Life Sciences, Research assistant
Published
2017-02-14
Info
Issue
Section
Aquatic bio-monitoring: Lessons from the past, challenges for the future
Keywords:
WFD, HD, monitoring programs, aquatic vegetation, vascular macrophytes, charophytes, nutrient drivers, macrophyte depth distribution.
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How to Cite
1.
Bolpagni R, Azzella MM, Agostinelli C, Beghi A, Bettoni E, Brusa G, De Molli C, Formenti R, Galimberti F, Cerabolini BE. Integrating the Water Framework Directive into the Habitats Directive: Analysis of distribution patterns of lacustrine EU habitats in lakes of Lombardy (northern Italy). J Limnol [Internet]. 2017Feb.14 [cited 2020Jun.6];76(1s). Available from: https://www.jlimnol.it/index.php/jlimnol/article/view/jlimnol.2017.1627