Each islet is surrounded by a protected marine area, whose width runs from 300 to 500 meters, while the overall marine surface of the park is 15.046 hectares. This group of islands and islets form 180 km of coastal area.
The area was included within the Cetacean Sanctuary, due to frequent sightings of cetaceans in autumn and spring time.
The flora on the island accounts for 750 different species, typical of the coastal schlerophyllici thermo-xerophylae shapes. Here the phytocoenoses of alorupycolae areas, psammophyilae and primary garrigues prevail, all characterized by a strong presence of endemic components.
The benthic marine community is relatively untouched; among the natural hazards we can list wide marine meadows (Posidonia oceanica) and lime carpets of red algae. The Mediterranean limpet, indicator of highly oxygenated and clean water is quite common over the archipelago’s coasts.
Marine and land vertebrates are typical of middle-west Mediterranean. An important reptile population, geographically isolated and made of endemic Sardinian and Corsican species which are classified as endangered on a global scale, can be noted: gecko emidattilo and the Hermann tortoise.
Many species of cetaceans live in these waters, being the archipelago also an important site for dolphin reproduction. In the sixties a Mediterranean monk seal was likely to be seen; today there are no more sightings, despite the situation is improving in the region.
The islands and islets of the Maddalena archipelago are on the way of an important trans-Sahara transmigration route, a resting and breeding place for marine birds.
The coastal asset is among the soundest in Sardegna, thus of Italy. The islands destination to military defence was firstly contributing to maintain the condition of environmental integrity, through limits set by the Navy in war time to protect stations built to defend the nation. Subsequently the action by later civic administrations prevented the islands from edification and residential building.
Same attention - as to territory safeguard- may be found on the French side. The action of the National Park is aimed, through planning and regulations which implement safeguard dispositions, at containing tourism pressure on the most qualified sites and habitats.
Particularly interesting is the park environmental monitoring system which allows a steady control on the area.
Comparison with other similar properties.
Throughout the world, minor islets with good weather conditions underwent a remarkable transformation - due to tourism- with the worsening of natural eco-systems that are changing to semi- natural or highly anthropic affected ecosystems.
As against this general trend, the Archipelago of La Maddalena, with the only exception of the main island and its houses, maintained a substantial natural condition as to the land (Spargi, Budelli, Razzoli, Spargiotto, Barrettini, Mortorio and Nibani) and in particular the sea, representing a valuable example of coastal system safeguard over 180 km.
It significantly differs from the Tuscan archipelago, that consists of islands very far apart and geologically different islands, just like the islands of Egeo which are mostly of volcanic origin within a geo-thermal active area. Other archipelagos such as islands of Balearic, Breton, Egadi, Hyères, Eolie, Tremiti differ either due to their geological nature or landscape as a whole.
At similar latitudes in other continents, geological conditions and related landscape assets are really different (for example, the Archipelago of Ciloé in Chile).
The most alike area, furthermore in geographically continuity, is represented by the Archipelago of Lavezzi.
As to seabed, the location of the archipelago inside the "Bocche of Bonifacio" causes a high hydro-dynamism that, associated with scarce depth of the channel and limited tide range, determines the uttermost water cleanness with colour range from turquoise blue to emerald, azure-blue and deep blue.
Forms of granite erosion from last glaciation age 18 Ka B.P may be observed on seabed. Such an incredible concomitance of rare factors makes this seascape unlikely to meet equals in the rest of the world. The presence of an element joining two islands remains unique in the whole Mediterranean and elsewhere difficult to be found: here are gathered naturalness conditions, speciation, richness of endemic species.
Huge agglomerations of Posidonia oceanica (priority habitat according to directive 93/43 CE), are quite well conserved in most of the Area, with particular regard to the surroundings of Budelli, Razzoli and Santa Maria in the north-west, of Soffi and Mortorio in the south-east which do contribute in increasing the site value's uniqueness.
The red algae Lithophyllum lichenoides forms lime agglomerates over 1 metre thick, present exclusively in the area.
As to both land and sea vertebrate fauna, although we cannot define this site as unique value, the global relevance for some sea birds breeding in the archipelago can nevertheless be highlighted, such as the Corsica seagull (Larus audouinii), the only seagull genus that is endemic of the Mediterranean, and the Mediterranean sub-type shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii), whose populations within the area are respectively 1% and 3% of the world population.
Le futur parc marin international des Bouches de Bonifacio constitué des deux entités (réserve naturelle de Bonifacio et Parco Nazionale dell'Archipelago della Maddalena) aura l'originalité d'être le premier espace marin transfrontalier protégé de Méditerranée.