The SCI area is one of the main tourist destination in southern Sardinia, its success as a beach destination unceasingly growing both in Italy and abroad. According to the official data released by the municipality of Villasimius, in July and August 2009 the village had 328,834 visitors and 3,000 residents.
Such substantial summer tourist flows imply that the SCI habitats face significant human pressure. In fact, the Life + PROVIDUNE project report (“Progress Report n° 2 Covering the project activities from 01/10/2010 to 31/01/2012”) confirms that all the main threats are linked to human pressure. The factors that generate the greatest impact on the habitats are the erosion caused by excessive footfall (33% incidence, and the focus of PROVIDUNE actions) and the introduction of invasive exotic species (24% incidence), the issue we elected to focus on with this project, based on the previous LIFE experience.
Rubbish (19%) and human excrements (14%) are also threatening factors, albeit with lower incidence.
The priority habitats identified in this project are vulnerable and significantly threatened by the above-mentioned direct human pressure on the beach and coastal dunes. In addition to reducing the surface area of these habitats and rarefying native species, human pressure brings invasive alien species that can alter the biological relations and resource allocation, with serious consequences for the habitats. Invasive species are cited as a key factor causing global change (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005) and identified as the second main cause of the reduction in biosphere biodiversity, following degradation, fragmentation and loss of habitats (IUCN, 2000).