Conservazione e recupero delle praterie xero-termiche della Valle di Susa mediante la gestione pastorale

Semi-natural dry-grassland consevation and restoration in Valle Susa through grazing management

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  • LIFE XEROGRAZING: Pecore e orchidee
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  • LIFE+ Programme

On the occasion of the participation of LIFE Xero-grazing at the First Congress of the International Land Conservation Network in Berlin, they were made a poster about the project in English and a prelimnary abstract video about the work already carried out. The official video will be available later this year, while a final video will be made to the final closure of the project. (Records Gianni Valente; editing by Silvano Previtali DVD Visual Communication)


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Calcareous walls in Orrido di Foresto- Val di SusaThe purpose of the LIFE Xero-grazing project (Semi-natural dry-grassland conservation and restoration in Valle Susa through grazing management) is the conservation and the restoration of priority habitat 6210*, seminatural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (important orchid sites), within a representative pastoral area of the SCI IT1110030 “Oasi xerotermiche della Valle di Susa - Orrido di Chianocco e Foresto. Today, it is affected by changes in the floristic composition and progressive invasion of trees and shrubs due to the absence of its use, for decades.

Within the SCI, this habitat is extremely significant due to the extent and the richness of orchids and the rare, steno-Mediterranean species. These grasslands in part, are already degraded because in the last decades land abandonment has produced a marked change in its floristic composition coupled with a dramatic encroachment by shrubs and trees.

The habitat 6210 * problems and threats to the conservation in the SCI are:

-Abandonment: the traditional agro-pastoral activities have been affected in recent decades by a progressive reduction in frequency and intensity. The shrinking number of resident companies and the exclusion of the area from the historical paths of transhumance flocks have contributed to a widespread abandonment of the area, which consequently has caused changes in the floristic composition of grasslands.

-Fire: Bassa Valle di Susa is considered to be an area at high risk for fire. In the SCI, the risk is accentuated by the large amount of dry ground phytomass and widespread shrub invasion - the consequences of the absence of agro-pastoral use.

-Unauthorized access of motor vehicles: In certain areas of the SCI, a problem with degradation of service roads to the areas of intervention exists, due to unauthorized access from motor vehicles.

-Changes of intended land use: land use changes within the SCI may be considered minimal, because the type of area and the territorial policies.

Project objectives:

The project aims to technically define and implement actions for the conservation and restoration of significant portions of the habitat. As a result, the project will be able to produce technical notes that the Alpi Cozie Natural Park (and other SCI areas) could apply to ensure a sustainable and long-term management of the habitat.

In particular, the project aims:

-To restore shrub and tree-encroached areas through actions of mechanical clearing and cutting. Even though the transition facies are included in the 6210 habitat, they can represent a threat for orchids;

-To define technical notes for a rational and conservative grazing management of the habitat and to apply them in particular areas (e.g. by buying domestic animals and arranging grazing structures);

-To develop the touristic and participative values of the area, increasing the awareness on the use of natural resources.

Through agro-pastoral character interventions, the project aims to restore about 20 hectares of 6210* habitat currently encroached by shrubs and trees as well as applying a conservative management to approximately 83 hectares of dry grassland.

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LIFE+is a financial instrument which supports environmental policy of the European Community. Adopted for the first time in 1992, LIFE + is divided into three main areas of action: Nature and Biodiversity, Environmental policies and government of territory, Communication and Information.

The program funds pilot projects and innovative actions, aimed at integrating issues of environmental protection with land planning and sustainable development. Grants are awarded to the best projects, particularly to those with highest practical content.

Within the framework of LIFE+ Nature, conservation actions are those "necessary to maintain or restore the natural habitats and the populations of species of wild fauna and flora at a favorable status." In practice, LIFE+ Nature contributes to the implementation of EC Directives "Birds" (79/409/EEC) and "Habitats" (92/43/EEC) and in particular, to the establishment of the European network of protected areas. NATURA 2000 – is designated to the management and preservation 'in situ' (in their natural environment) of species of fauna, flora and their habitats most valuable within the European Union.

Further information on LIFE+ can be gained by visiting the following websites:

Natura 2000 is the main instrument of EU policy used for conservation of biodiversity. It is an ecological network, spread throughout the territory of the Union, as established under Directive 92/43/EEC "Habitat" to ensure the long-term maintenance of natural habitats and species of flora and fauna threatened with extinction or existing at rare levels in the Community.

The areas included in the Natura 2000 network are not strictly protected reserves where human activities are excluded; the Habitats Directive aims to ensure the protection of nature whilst taking into account "economic, social and cultural requirements as well as regional and local characteristics" (Art . 2). Individuals and(or) private citizens can be owners of Natura 2000 sites, ensuring sustainable management both in terms of ecological and economical needs.

For further information on the italian Natura 2000 network refer to:

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The itinerant workshop dedicated to the study and agro-pastoral management of the xero-thermic grasslands was celebrated on June, 20

Participants  of the itinerant workshop 20/06/2014 (Action E2)

The past Friday June 20, 2014, was held in the project areas a technical itinerant workshop aimed at exchanging experiences about the study, protection and agro-pastoral management methods of the habitat 6210 * or of other habitats or species of european interest.

Event was attended by about thirty people, which have shown very interested in the project.

The good weather has allowed that the event had been developed in the intervention areas. The meeting of the participants was identified at Foresto, from where they were transferred with a van at the vicinity of the project areas. After a short walk they came to the first of the workstations, where Laura Castagneri (Director of the Ente di gestione delle aree protette delle Alpi Cozieand project coordinator) and Piera Favro (Mayor of Mompantero) have welcomed the participants. Giampiero Lombardi (AGROSE) and Consolata Siniscalco (DBIOS) presented the project and the area where it takes place.

Then, the group was transferred to the second area of work, where the experts of DBIOS AGROSE illustrated by practical examples, the floristic peculiarities of the territory, the methodology of floristic surveys (especially orchids and rare stenomeditarreny species) as well as the methodology of fitopastoral surveys.

In the third work station has been explained the past use of the territories of the SIC and the vegetation evolution. In this regard, Mr. Giulio Nasime has intervened, which became the bearer of the "voice of the memory of the territory."

After walk through the territories where the concrete conservation actions will be carry on, the group arrived at the fourth and last workstation in Pian Culuru where Giampiero Lombardi (AGROSE) explained the concrete actions of the project and the principles and technical solutions adopted.

The return to Foresto took place on foot. After lunch, at Foresto was held the second part of the workshop. It consists in the presentation of other national projects related to the themes of LIFE Xero-grazing. Among this interventions can mention the presentation of LIFE GREENWOOLF, LIFE WOLFALPS and an intervention about the habitat 6210 * xero-thermal-rich semi-natural grasslands of orchids.

Participants have shown a lot of interest throughout the workshop, and the debate was attended and enriching


Here you can download the material given to the participants


Here you can download the presentations in pdf

You can see more photos of the event in the photo gallery "The Project”

Here you can download the brochure produced for the event, the poster and the program of the workshop







gramma del workshop WItinerant workshop 20/06/2014 (Action E2):  the first workstationItinerant workshop 20/06/2014 (Action E2): Sample surveys fitopastorali used to AGROSE in the project Itinerant workshop 20/06/2014 (Action E2): presentation of national projects and other projects related to the themes of LIFE Xero-grazingW


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