The Maritime Alps nature park is one of Italy’s largest protected landscapes. This unique area contains great riches: numerous 3000-metre peaks, glaciers, lakes, extensive grasslands, as well as a wide variety of Alpine flora and fauna. Since 1987, together with the adjacent French Mercantour national park, an area of 100,000 hectares has been protected by the Maritime Alps nature park. The two parks were awarded the European Diploma of Protected Areas in 1993.
The area represents one of the biodiversity hotspots in the Alps. A great number of endemic plants and animals have developed in the special climate here, which is marked by Mediterranean and continental influences as well as crystalline and sedimentary rocks. Denizens include golden eagles, bearded vultures, eagle owls, wolves and ibexes, as well as Mediterranean species such as owls and nightjars, while rarities such as the endemic spider Vesubia jugorum also live here.
Over time, the presence of humans has considerably changed the area, particularly its grasslands, which are used as pastureland, and its forests provide energy.
The Maritime Alps nature park is designated as a pilot area under the recharge.green project in order to examine the economic sustainability of renewable energies produced from biomass in the forestry industry. In addition, the project will examine the sustainability of this type of energy use, and of the production of hydropower, in terms of maintaining biodiversity and priority species in the protected area and its surroundings. Fish passes will also be built to promote ecological connectivity. This goal was formulated by the Maritime Alps nature park in the now-completed ECONNECT project.