LIFE Project Cover Photo

Restoring the Pontine Archipelago ecosystem through management of rats and other invasive alien species

Reference: LIFE14 NAT/IT/000544 | Acronym: LIFE PonDerat



The breeding success of bird species with unfavourable conservation status, such as Scopoli’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) and Yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan), is seriously threatened by the black rat (Rattus rattus), as demonstrated by international scientific literature. This negative trend is occurring in several Mediterranean islands (Tavolara, Pianosa and Montecristo) as well as the Pontine Archipelago. Furthermore, the uncontrolled growth of invasive alien plant species in the Mediterranean islands has led to the degradation of many habitats, threatening endemic plants and favouring the expansion of the black rat population. This problem is also occurring in Pontine Archipelago, which is threatened by Carpobrotus spp.


The LIFE PonDerat project aims to:

  • Eradicate and control alien animal species (such as rodents and feral goats) in order to restore island habitats (6220*, 3170*, 5320, 5330, 1240) and communities and improve the breeding performances of native species (mainly Calonectris diomedea and Puffinus yelkouan);
  • Fence off key land plots on Zannone island in order to exclude wild alien animals (mouflons) and to restore habitats of Community interest (9340);
  • Eradicate invasive alien plant species (Carpobrotus spp.) on S. Stefano, Ventotene and Palmarola islands, as well as to improve the success of rat eradication;
  • Implement tight bio-security measures to prevent rat reinvasions.
  • Expected results: Palmarola, S. Stefano and Ventotene

  • Increase of breeding success (in the short term) and population size (in the long term) of seabirds (for Calonectris diomedea and Puffinus yelkouan expected results are comparable to those obtained at Zannone island (i.e. 80% productivity) and at La Scola islet in Tuscany);
  • Attraction of new breeding species (i.e. Hidrobates pelagicus) in the long term;
  • Increase of biodiversity and biomass, and the restoration of ecosystems functions with plant species whose seeds are eaten by rats;
  • Improvement of habitat conditions for bird species breeding on the ground or close to it, for migrating birds present stopping over and for reptiles, invertebrates and vegetation;
  • Improvement of sanitary conditions for island inhabitants at Ventotene and for tourists (in all three islands);
  • Maintenance of long-term low risk of recolonisation;
  • Eradication of Carpobrotus spp. and an increase in awareness of the alien plant species issue; and
  • Recovery of habitats 5330, 6220*, 3170* at Palmarola.
  • Ponza Improvement of sanitary conditions (through the reduction of the risk of transmission of zoonoses via rats) for inhabitants of the area surrounding the harbour.


  • Maintenance of long-term low risk of recolonisation; and
  • Restoration of Holm oak forest (habitat 9340) ecosystem functions by the recovery of natural regeneration in the fenced area (10% of the total habitat available on the island).


    Reference: LIFE14 NAT/IT/000544
    Acronym: LIFE PonDerat
    Start Date: 01/10/2015
    End Date: 31/03/2022
    Total Eligible Budget: 1,788,216 €
    EU Contribution: 1,072,930 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Regione Lazio - Direzione Ambiente
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: Via di Campo Romano 65, 00173, Roma, Italia
    Contact Person: Dario CAPIZZI
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Invasive species
    • Birds


    • island ecosystem
    • migratory species


    • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
    • COM(2013) 620 final “Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species  (09.09.2013)


    • 1240 - Vegetated sea cliffs of the Mediterranean coasts with endemic Limonium spp.
    • 3170 - Mediterranean temporary ponds
    • 5220 - Arborescent matorral with Zyziphus
    • 5230 - Arborescent matorral with Laurus nobilis
    • 6220 - Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals of the Thero-Brachypodietea


    • Puffinus yelkouan
    • Calonectris diomedea


    Type Code Name
    SPA IT6040019 Isole di Ponza, Palmarola, Zannone, Ventotene e S. Stefano
    SCI IT6040020 Isole di Palmarola e Zannone


    Name Type
    Regione Lazio - Direzione Capitale Naturale, Parchi e Aree Protette Coordinator
    RNS(Ente Gestore della AMP-RNS Isole di Ventotene e S. Stefano), Italy Participant
    ISPRA(Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale), Italy Participant
    NEMO(NEMO Nature and Environment Management Operators Srl), Italy Participant
    DBA(Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale - Sapienza Università di Roma), Italy Participant