The project MIPP (Monitoring of insects with public participation) is a project of the State Forestry Service, co-funded by the European Commission under the LIFE + program (LIFE11 NAT/IT/000252). The associated beneficiaries of the project are: Sapienza - University of Rome, University Roma Tre, Italian Ministry for the Environment, Region Lombardy and the Council for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture - ABP Florence.
The main objective of the project MIPP is to develop and test methods for the monitoring of five beetle species listed in the Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive (Osmoderma eremita, Lucanus cervus, Cerambyx cerdo, Rosalia alpina, Morimus funereus). The development of these methods is necessary because the Habitats Directive specifies that Member States shall report every six years on the conservation status of the species listed in the Annexes. Only a standardized monitoring program, using appropriate methods, guarantees the collection of comparable data. The project MIPP will test methods based on direct observations, genetic analyses and on trapping. For the monitoring of Osmoderma eremita, a dog ("osmo-dog") will be trained to locate the characteristic scent of the pheromone emitted by this beetle, also with the aim to identify as more as possible new Italian localities of occurrence for this species.
A second objective of the project is the collection of faunistic data, gathered by citizens, via the web. The data can also be collected via a smartphone application. Another component of this LIFE+ project is to inform and educate the public on issues such as Natura 2000, Habitats Directive, and monitoring and saproxylic insects. The osmo-dog, in addition to being used for the monitoring of Osmoderma eremita, will serve as a "curiosity", to draw attention to this rare beetle and to the issues mentioned above.