Nature protection and biodiversity
Italy possesses one-half of all the plant species currently found on European territory, together with a third of the animal species. There are more than 58 000 animal species in Italy and more than 6 700 species of higher plants with 15.6 % of endemic species. Italy has an especially rich stock of forests and its forest area index is constantly on the rise, mainly thanks to the natural expansion of forests.
Running counter to this trend, however, are forest fires, which continue to represent a serious problem, although mitigated in 2008.
However, biodiversity is seriously threatened. For example, the percentage of vertebrate species at risk fluctuates depending on the author consulted, from 47.5 % to 68.4 %. The situation is especially critical for freshwater fishes, amphibians and reptiles. The statistics on the threat faced by plant species in Italy show that 15 % of the vascular flora in Italy is threatened with extinction, while the situation is even more critical for the lower plants, with approximately 40 % of all known species found to be in danger.
In addition to natural environments, agricultural areas also play an important role. For instance, approximately 21 % of the UAA (Utilised Agricultural Area) presents characteristics of noteworthy naturalistic value.
 GIS NATURA Il GIS delle conoscenze naturalistiche in Italia, MATT, 2005; Biodiversity in Italy, Blasi et al., 2005
 An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Conti et al., 2005
 Libro rosso degli Animali d'Italia, Bulgarini et al., 1998; Application to the terrestrial vertebrates of Italy of a system proposed by IUCN for a new classification of national Red List categories, Pinchera et al., 1997; Condannati all’estinzione? Biodiversità, biologia, minacce e strategie di conservazione dei Pesci d’acqua dolce indigeni in Italia, Zerunian, 2002
 Libro Rosso delle Piante d’Italia, Conti et al., 1992; Liste Rosse Regionali delle Piante d'Italia, Conti et al., 1997; Atlante delle specie a rischio di estinzione (CD-ROM), Scoppola & Spampinato, 2005
 EEA, 2004
[Commonality topics] biodiversity
[COMMONALITY] What are the state and impacts?