THE SMALL ISLAND PROJECT
The 'Small Islands Project' (original name 'Progetto Piccole Isole', PPI) has been launched in the 1988 by the National Wildlife Institute, now become the High Institute for the Environment Protection and Research. The Project aims to assess all the different patterns of the spring migration through the Mediterranean see, which consists in a wide ecological barrier between Africa and Europe.
Began as an italian initiative, it soon involved a lot of isles and coastal sites widespread in the west-central part of the Mediterranean area.
The main scope of the PPI is tracking the migratory paths and the phenology of the seasonal movements of different species (mainly passerines), mainly focusing on the long distance migrants, which spend the winter in the areas below the Sahara desert. Moreover, since the fragile ecosystem of the Mediterranean Isles is highly threatened, the Project also aims to investigate the functional role assumed by the islands towards the birds which stop there. This can be understood studying the physiologic conditions of the animals during the phases of their flight towards Europe.
A more detailed description of the monitoring activities is given in the Small Island Project handbook.