Location and Values: The Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) is a group of volcanic islands lying off the north-east coast of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea. There are seven main islands and six islets in the group, covering a total land area of 12 km2. They form part of a 200 km volcanic arc (like the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’), resulting from collision of the African continental plate with the European one. While most of the volcanic arc is dormant and lies under the sea, three or four of the islands (Stromboli, Vulcano, Lipari and perhaps Panarea) are still active. The island group is globally important as an outstanding example of volcanic island building and destruction, exhibiting an exceptional diversity of associated geological features. In particular, the islands exhibit two of the six classic types of volcanic activity recognized worldwide by vulcanologists, which take their names from islands in the group. Strombolian volcanism involves continuous regular spurts of lapilli, bombs and blazing gas, while the Vulcanian type involves more violent eruptions at much longer intervals.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of the Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) is ‘good, with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that ‘although the current state of the geological values for which the World Heritage Site was inscribed is good and their condition is stable, there are significant concerns regarding the deteriorating state of the site´s other important biodiversity values. These concerns are all the more noteworthy in light of the major threat of mass tourism, which has been compromising the conservation of the site´s natural heritage since its inscription and threatening the islands´ notable endemic species. The absence of a functioning management system to implement conservation measures is a major issue, compromising the site´s future capacity to conserve its values. ’
UNESCO Official Website
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description