Conservation is a state of harmony between man and land.

Aldo Leopold


The Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund (AIPF) helps preserve the exceptional beauty and natural value of the Aeolian Islands, currently threatened by tourism development. To this end the AIPF raise money from people from all around the world who care about the future of the Aeolian Islands. We use funds raised to support environmental, artisanal, and sustainable initiatives, carried out by organizations and associations already present in Sicily, or by other Italian groups that focus on policies affecting the Islands. AIPF is an initiative started by friends of the Aeolian Islands, who want to give this fragile ecosystem the protection it deserves.

About us

AIPF is an initiative taken by lovers and friends of Aeolian Islands, a small group of people with a personal connection with Aeolian Islands. AIPF staff is minimal, with one person as a Coordinator in charge of day-to-day management and coordination work, assisted by two advisors with a long-standing expertise in environmental work.

Get involved

In recent years, public concern about environmental issues in Aeolian Islands has grown, and we all need to do some efforts to change the islands unsustainable growth patterns. Environmental organizations in Sicily and in Italy can do excellent work, but with very limited resources. Now is the time to support them and to capitalise on the growing public interest in green issues. Participation in the AIPF represents a unique opportunity to get personally engaged, and to make a difference to the future of the Aeolian Islands. AIPF has ambitious yet realistic plans for the future.

Issues of concern


The wealth of fauna and flora of the Aeolian Islands and its clear waters are due mainly to the presence of sea grass that is still widespread along the coasts of the islands. Despite a system of protection that is in place, many prohibitions are not respected and boats are often anchored just above the undisturbed patch of scattered sea grass. It is important to create a monitoring system so to avoid future possibilities of new buildings and construction of marinas. The most important and famous beaches like Pollara in Salina (Il Postino) or Cave di Pomici in Lipari and many others all around the archipelago risk disappearing forever if we don’t act now.


The Posidonia lives exclusively in the depths of the Mediterranean Sea, it is endemic to the area, and together with its grasslands and waste – the dead leaves that periodically accumulate on the beaches – it is of enormous importance for the ‘health’ of the sea and to protect the coast from erosion. In addition to the basic functions that the Posidonia performs at the level of the sea as an oxygen producer, as a stabilisation force of substrate, and a provider of hospitality and refuge to the lives of many animals and plants, it performs important functions on land as well. The Posidonia acts as a ‘barrier’ against the current, either directly through the old leaves that become detached and are transported by the currents to the beach where they form, sometimes considerable, accumulations called banquettes. Posidonia accumulated in this way also assumes the role of coastal protection.


Most of Aeolian Islands’ important habitats are coastal or marine areas, threatened by activities connected to high tourism. Even existing Natural Parks are at risk: protection has not safeguarded fragile habitats and there is no control at all. Tourism and environment protection can be very well connected, so to save the main economy for the citizens and to preserve the natural beauty of Aeolians. The Aeolian Islands, also, harbour important colonies of Europe’s most threatened sea-bird and migratory birds, catalogued by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) as Critically Endangered.


The Aeolian seas are still areas with stunning fish populations, despite the high number of fishing-boats that can work undisturbed throughout the year. An important step is to create a network of all the local fishermen for many reasons: they still have seasonal knowledge of fish and they avoid the use of trawlers and don’t fish too close to the coast. The creation of natural marine protected areas is possible only if we protect local fishermen and involve them in projects and protection activities.


Many islands all around the Mediterranean Sea have already created protected marine areas, with the aim of safeguarding the marine ecosystem. The Aeolian Islands have the opportunity to create something unique, thanks to the presence of active and exstinct Volcanos, a real ‘Park of the Aeolian’. This can be articulated on three levels: the Park of active volcanoes, the Park of extinct volcanoes, the Park of underwater volcanoes; this idea calls for the protection of existing natural heritage and the recovery of any partially or totally damaged areas, for measures aimed at limiting any strong sources of pollution, ranging from acoustic sources to any in the marine environment. It is also the way to attract and promote an alternative responsible tourism with a revaluation of the existing natural value of Aeolian Islands.


There is an immediate need to provide social and cultural facilities, as the current ones are totally inadequate, both for tourists and, especially, for the resident population, because this deficiency becomes a real problem during the winter season when the island is often isolated and unreachable. Only few artisans live permanently on the islands, which is partly due to the excessive rents and prices. This is an important heritage that is at real risk of disappearing. Soon or later nobody will be able to transfer knowledge of how to build and repair a stone-wall (part of the typical architecture of the Aeolians) or to repair a handmade fishing net. The Aeolian Island Preservation Fund aims to preserve and maintain all knowledge and push for a return to original local handicraft. Historic heritage is another point on which we have to focus: many archaeological remains can be better conserved and, if well organized, could generate precious income. The typicality of Aeolian architecture is another wasted opportunity: it is very interesting and unique and studied as a model of sustainable union between nature and construction all around the world. We are creating a network with universities and architects. We don’t have to forget, at least, the historical importance of these archipelagos and the great heritage they represent: it is necessary to improve information and tourism organisation for the sites with archaeological remains found all around the Aeolian Islands.



There are no natural springs on the Aeolian Islands and the water arrives at the ports by tankers (with a capacity 230m3 / 560m3) which drain the water through hoses into other fuel tanks which, through the use of engines, sort the water into the storage tanks and then it gets transported into the wells of the houses. Energy costs are exorbitant and difficult to sustain by the municipality of Lipari to which must be added the costs paid by the citizens. This also includes the cost of personnel and the cost of electricity for the lift pumps present in every home. Few houses still have tanks to collect rain water and these are normally used for the garden.

In Italy, to optimise the system of waste collection, they created the ATO institutes through the Ronchi Act (Dec.22 / 06), in order to achieve self-sufficiency in waste disposal, organise staff and facilities, and to ensure high standards. They also aim to achieve a greater use of compost spread at homes, which can be very useful for the garden. ATO has since 2011 awarded the sweeping service and collection of sorted MSW and the ECO to S.E.I.B. Ltd., the company that will collect the waste from dumpsters, put them in storage areas (absent in many of the islands), compact it and then send it to the landfill Mazzara Santandrea, always at the expense of the city. The curbside collection system, which this year will also be tested on the smaller islands, is not practical and there is no training given to citizens about recycling and ecology to sensitise them.

The Aeolian Islands are not self-sufficient in terms of energy and are equipped with diesel power plants that operate by engines owned by ENEL, with the exception of Lipari that has its own power plant. The power output of 4 megawatts and distribution of solar panels is hindered and uncommon. But the Aeolian Islands have an infinite wealth thanks to geothermal energy present everywhere and it would be desirable to increase, even by offering that Enel participate in a project on the use of geothermal energy as an alternative source of energy.


Before the onslaught of tourism, the Aeolian Islands used to be self-sufficient and were farmed. In every island you can see old terraces used in the past for farming. Salina still remains a rural island where you can find agro-biodiversity, ancient seeds and traditional cultivations. Tourism has changed the originality of the islands and caused the abandonment of farming and now the islands’ food supplies depend totally on imports. This has caused not only the loss of the rural landscape and of traditional knowledge, but also has brought an increase in maritime traffic and a lack of essential resources during winter for islands like Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi. Privately grown crops make up less than 10% of required consumption. The AIPF aims to promote the organic agriculture, the incorporation of new farmers to the lands, and to create a database of abandoned farms and gardens offered for ecological farming under a stewardship contract, so to create a chain and start the production and the distribution of Aeolian Local products.