Alpine Ecosystem Services - mapping, maintenance, management

Espace Mont-Blanc, Aosta Valley, Italy

The Espace Mont-Blanc (EMB) is a crossborder area that includes part of the Aosta Valley (IT), Haute Savoie and Savoie (FR) and Valais (CH). In this vast area, around 2800 km2, you can find an exceptional richness in terms of natural environments and alpine landscapes. A large part of the EMB is located at high altitudes: nearly 80% of the territory is situated above 500 metres. The area is dominated by the majestic peak of Mont Blanc at 4810 m.a.s.l, the highest mountain in Western Europe.

This cross-border territory covers 35 municipalities (11 more from the Italian side will be part of this transboundary area by the end of 2016) with a total population of 100000.

The land use is quite varied, depending on whether you are passing through the areas at the bottom of the valley or the most elevated summits. About 20% of the surface is inhabited and used for housing, agricultural, artisanal, and touristic activities. Important areas are subject to protection measures provided either by national or regional legal foundations, or by European programmes for safeguarding the natural environment. The protection measures for natural environments are intended to form a comprehensive strategy for biodiversity conservation. Its natural and landscaped heritage makes the Espace Mont-Blanc a laboratory for implementing actions involving protection and requirements for development. In fact, in the past 25 years, the EMB has produced a series of local strategies to manage and protect ecosystems.

As a partner in the AlpES project, the Safe Mountain Foundation (FondMS) has chosen as test region the Italian side of the Espace Mont Blanc. The area comprises 16 municipalities: 5 are included in the Association of Mountain Municipalities Valdigne Mont-Blanc (on the border with France) and the other 11 represent the Association of Mountain Municipalities Grand-Combin (on the border with Switzerland).

Promotional material: Flyer Aosta Valley Mont Blanc IT