In 2017, the LTER Trails initiative reached its third edition, featuring two national walks. In this same year, the Trails were adopted internationally by the ILTER network through the event: “Trails” – TRAvelling through ecosystems and biodiversity: Long-term ecological research for citizens.
The Apennine Walk took place in the mountains of Abruzzo, connecting two high-altitude LTER sites managed by the Carabinieri Forestry, Environmental and Agricultural Units Command (formerly CFS) and the University of Molise, from Gran Sasso to Majella. The route covered the characteristic landscape of the Central Apennines, from shrubland to high-altitude meadows to alpine tundra. All environments with high biodiversity value. The route crossed two National Parks and a State Reserve.
The walk started on July 20, 2017, from Gran Sasso and ended on July 23 in Majella. The participants engaged in activities such as vegetation and microclimate monitoring, and geological and faunistic observations with the assistance of botanists, zoologists, and geologists.
Researchers, amateur naturalists, and volunteers were involved in special events such as the BioBlitz or the botanical treasure hunts to identify plant and animal species in the areas.
The Anthropica Trail took place by bike, connecting the Gulf of Naples to the Mar Piccolo in Taranto over eight days. It aimed to raise awareness about anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems, habitat loss, biodiversity, and the fragility of aquatic ecosystems due to coastal system exploitation for industrial activities. The route crossed Campania, Basilicata, and Puglia.
During this Trail, several communication activities were targeting primary and secondary school students. A series of workshops called “Sea Futuring Tours”, were launched during Anthropica with the aim to collect new ideas and to imagine the future of the sea.
The Trail route passed through several highly anthropized ecosystems, particularly along the coasts of Campania and Puglia, encountering areas impacted by industrial activities. The journey included visits to significant scientific-naturalistic contexts, such as the Gulfs of Naples and Salerno, Cilento National Park, Vallo di Diano and Alburni (SIC and ZPS areas), Murgia Materana Park, and the Acquedotto Pugliese (a national institution for water resource management).
Experiences from this walk and the “Terramare – Il racconto del cambiamento tra foreste, laghi e mare” walk in 2016 were compiled in the book “ANTHROPICA. VIAGGIO NELL’ITALIA DEL CAMBIAMENTO AMBIENTALE” (Hoepli 2023) by Domenico D’Alelio and Emanuela Dattolo.