Vol 7 (2003)


Cover Page


The Journal of Mountain Ecology is glad to publish the proceedings of the Second Conference of the Italian Society for Eco-pathology of Wildlife (SIEF). The main reasons for this event are to be searched partially in the themes included in these proceedings, and partially in the long tradition of the Gran Paradiso National Park (GPNP) in the study of wildlife pathology. These proceedings include some important contributions to the knowledge of the sanitary condition and the ecology of mountain wildlife, both in the Alps and in the Apennines. Of particular interest is the effort to develop ecological and mathematical models for the prediction of the effects of pathologies, particularly virus infections – Swine pest -, bacterial infections – micobacteriosis, brucellosis, paratuberculosis -, and macro-parasites – abomasal nematodes, coccidiosis – on the population dynamics of wildlife species. The eco-pathological approach is enforced by the presence of some ecological papers, focused on the climatic modifications of landscape and alpine vegetation and on the modifications of local biodiversity. These topics on wildlife pathology are of particular interest for the GPNP and, therefore, suitable for publication in the J.Mt.Ecol. The GPNP is interested in the study and monitoring of wildlife pathology since the end of the Second World War with the work of the late Prof. Videsott, veterinarian and director of the GPNP, and was then continued by Dr. Peracino, first Sanitary inspector of the GPNP. It is not the first time that the J.Mt.Ecol. dedicates space to papers on wildlife pathology, and we hope to have done a service to the national and international scientific community, in publishing these works. As the official conference language was Italian, most contribution to this supplement are in this language.

The Director of GPNP
Michele Ottino


The health of wildlife populations is catalysing a growing interest by people, the scientific community and policy makers. Increasing human activities caused an intermingling of wildlife, domestic animals and human populations. At the same time change in land utilisation and loss of biodiversity are strongly enhanced. In such a situation infectious and non-infectious wildlife diseases are recognised to play a relevant role for both conservation and public health. Nowadays wildlife medicine cannot be restricted only to research groups or to “naive” interests of few individuals, neither wildlife management can be drive only by emotional approaches. A robust scientific background is largely needed. Because of the complexity and multifaceted aspects of the sanitary problems in free ranging populations, the ecology of wildlife diseases arises as a key factor in any of the possible epidemiological scenarios. This achievement is the basic step for addressing any further strategies for a sustainable management, focused not only on wild populations, but on entire ecosystems, that is the final goal of any action plan. This topic was the main framework of the II National meeting of the Società Italiana di Ecopatologia della Fauna (S.I.E.F.), and despite the congress was held in October 1998 we deemed important still to publish the proceedings. Initially the proceedings should have been published by the Istituto Nazionale per la Fauna Selvatica “Alessandro Ghigi”, the national research and advisory agency for wildlife management in Italy. The administrative transition imposed to the Istituto Nazionale per la Fauna Selvatica strongly delayed the publishing until we received the proposal of the Gran Paradiso National Park to have a special issue of the Journal of Mountain Ecology dedicated to the meeting. The value of this peer-reviewed journal in the field of wildlife conservation and management, convinced the SIEF to accept the proposal. We strongly believe that the on-line access will promote a wide diffusion of the data and concepts reported by all the authors. The interdisciplinary approach of the meeting was due to the believing that free-ranging wildlife diseases control and management are a very difficult goal that can be accomplished only with the skills of different professional figures. The meeting was financially supported by many Local and Central Authorities suggesting that administrative agencies were strongly interested into wildlife diseases and management. We want to thank all of them not only for the financial support, but also for their trust on our policy. We are particularly grateful to Provincia di Sondrio, Comunità Montana Alta Valtellina, Comune di Bormio, Istituto Nazionale per la Fauna Selvatica and Centro di Ecologia Alpina. Last but not least we want to remember the presence at the meeting in Bormio of some internationally well known colleagues, two from north America and five from Europe. They gave us an up to date of the major trends in wildlife diseases study and management. To all of them our sincere thanks for giving us an international insight into the world of wildlife and earth health. We hope that the papers presented in these proceedings could be an useful tool for all the people involved in wildlife diseases research and management.

On behalf of the SIEF Scientific Board
Paolo Lanfranchi


Journal of Mountain Ecology
The Journal of Mountain Ecology is an OPEN ACCESS peer reviewed journal published by the Gran Paradiso National Park.