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Earth Sciences and Landscape Macroarea

Given that economic development and quality of life understood in terms of social development are closely related to the quality of the environment, in this area basic research is concerned with investigating geological structure, land cover and use, and changes in the climate and the environmental conditions of the area. The division of the territory between forestry, agriculture, settlement and infrastructure is redefined by the museum's research in terms of “quality”, giving an ecological-functional reading to the representation of these landscape categories.
The goal coincides with the development of an ecomosaic model in which the natural biotic and abiotic components (past, present, and prospective) interact with anthropogenic ones related to: traditional land uses, the presence of prevailing cultural entities, parks and protected areas, interpretation systems and the value enhancement of these categories. The goals are to :

1. define the main components of the alpine landscape, its past geological structure (paleoenvironments and ecosystems), and the principle transformations and processes which it has undergone;

2. highlight the current character of the alpine landscape with reference to stable situations and situations characterised by change (of varying size and timescale), with reference to the agents and modalities of the latter;

3. summarise the characteristics of the alpine landscape and to monitor its changes over time.

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Biodiversity and Ecology Macro area

As part of the studies on biodiversity, the contribution of the Museum’s research resides in the integration of ecological data, physiological and molecular (genetic) factors relating to individual, populations and whole communities of plants (algae and higher plants) and animals (arthropods and vertebrates) for the purposes of:

1. Determining the ecological, biogeographic and evolutionary factors that influence the distribution patterns of species and model communities; 

2. Determining population dynamics and evolutionary processes of plant and animal species in mountainous areas;

3. Analysing the collected data to predict the responses of model organisms and communities to climate change and environmental issues;

4. Creating dedicated tools for the reconstruction of the impact of human activities on the landscape and to estimate natural systems’ resilience to anthropisation;

5. Identifying the factors that determine the gradients of biodiversity at local and global levels, and producing maps of potential biodiversity; 

6. Providing stakeholders with new tools and methods for the management and conservation of habitats and species;

7. Experimenting with concrete actions for the mitigation of adverse environmental impacts and the re-naturalisation of habitats; 

8. Developing cultural and scientific tools for the promotion and dissemination of the concept of sustainable development "based on knowledge".

Fondamental to this interdisciplinary approach is the recognised expertise of the Museum Departments which work in the biological field, documenting the various components of biodiversity, quantified in the databases that are associated with numerous scientific publications and scientific and technical reports produced for conservation and management (e.g. red lists, check lists, action plans, management and conservation plans).