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fiori_rocciaAlthough in recent years the eastern cross-border area of the Alps lying between Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Carinthia has benefitted from funding, thereby somewhat attenuating the geographic disadvantages and economic gap with the hilly areas and plains, the area is not yet able to enjoy coordinated, systematic social and economic development. More specifically, the potential represented by the area’s wealth of natural heritage and landscapes, and the great many protected natural areas that are already structured and organised, are distinctly under-used.

The eastern Alpine area features territories that are similar in terms of orography, geology and natural value, with the presence of endemic species of plants and animals typical of a restricted area.

The area’s high natural value is shown by the inclusion of a great many Natura 2000 sites: Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs), set up in accordance with Directives 92/43/EEC and 79/409/EEC, whose territory, in some cases, can be entirely superimposed over the protected natural areas, namely the nature parks and reserves.

It is a system of natural areas, partly organised into the Alpine Network of Protected Areas and the ‘Convention for the protection of the Alps’ which carries out and coordinates initiatives and studies on the protected territory of the Alpine area.

Within the nature parks and surrounding areas, there are structures for tourist use of sites, which, if duly managed and integrated with the tourism structures, can help encourage the social and economic eco-friendly development of the area.

However, those residing in these areas generally see the presence of a natural area as representing a limit to territorial development, rather than a tool by which to develop it that can integrate the protection of nature with the economic activities and social and cultural demands of the residents