Daikin Prize for Biodiversity – 6th Edition (2020): Making a positive impact in different ways

Daikin Applied Europe is working day by day to make an impact on society and the world we live in. Daikin is well-known for doing that by developing sustainable and efficiency-oriented technology, but that is not the only way the company pursues its goal.

This year, the 6th in a row, our company is supporting research with the Daikin Prize for Biodiversity Conservation, partnering up with Sapienza – University of Rome, to support scientific research in the field of Biodiversity Conservation.

The Daikin Prize for Biodiversty Conservation

The Daikin Prize for Biodiversty Conservation, springs from the desire to support research in the field of Biodiversity, rewarding the work of young researchers who are creating a conversation around the subject-matter, aiming to make a positive impact on society through knowledge.

The prize is now a well-established award in the field. “It was something totally new in the field of biodiversity in Italy, as there was no such a thing before Daikin Applied Europe and La Sapienza University started partnering up 6 years ago” (Moreno di Marco – Research Fellow – Department of Biology and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University of Rome (Italy).

This year’s winner

This year Daikin is pleased to announce the new award winner. Mrs Olivia Dondina.

Olivia graduated in Natural Sciences at the University of Milan and she has a PhD in Science carried out at the University of Milan-Bicocca. She is currently a research fellow at the Biodiversity Conservation Unit in the Department of Environmental and Earth Sciences of the University of Milan-Bicocca. The field of study in which she operates is Conservation Biology. Specifically, the research work she has been carrying out concerns the study of the effects of anthropogenic environmental alteration processes (the loss, alteration and fragmentation of habitats, but also climate change, the intensification of cultivation practices and the introduction of alien species) on animal biodiversity, with a specific focus on terrestrial vertebrates.

The winning project

The research work she has been awarded for, is a project started at the University of Milan-Bicocca during her PhD on environmental fragmentation in forest environments, which has been recognized as one of the main causes of biodiversity loss on a global scale.

The animal species that live in fragmented landscapes are, in fact, reduced to small and isolated subpopulations and this makes them particularly sensitive to the phenomenon of extinction. To ensure the long-term persistence of animal populations in fragmented landscapes, conservation strategies must be implemented at the landscape level, protecting and increasing the ecological connectivity between the fragments of residual habitat that host local subpopulations.

The purpose of her research is to provide practices to design an effective ecological network for the protection of forest species in an agro-ecosystem in northern Italy by adopting a multi-species and multi-scale approach.

Here is what Olivia said about her work and how like Daikin she has a will to positively impact society with her work:

“The goal of my research work is to provide guidelines for the implementation of effective management measures in conserving or increasing ecological connectivity in human-modified landscapes. This not only allows to guarantee the long-term survival of animal and plant species in fragmented landscapes, and therefore to protect biodiversity in these contexts, but ensures the proper functioning of an ecosystem, providing multiple benefits to mankind”.

How Daikin will support the winning project

“I have been working for two years on a project that is really important to me. This project aims at the studying the recolonization of the wolf in the Ticino Park area, which was documented for the first time in May 2017 after 150 years of absence from the Park areas.

The aim of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Park as an ecological corridor for the wolf between the Northern Apennines and the Central area of ​​the Alps.

This corridor would play a key role in the dynamics of recolonization of the wolf in the Eastern Alps area, where the species is struggling to expand. Daikin Applied Europe will contribute with this award in this research, probably through the purchase of camera-traps (automatic cameras that allow to collect photo and video evidence of the presence and the movement of the specimens in the area) and other equipment which will be used for a more in-depth study and tracking of the wolves that, after abandoning their flock of origin, cross the Ticino Park area.

 

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