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LIFE Xero-grazing Project

Conservation and restoration of the xerothermic grasslands of the Susa Valley through the grazing management

The Life project aims at the conservation and restoration of the priority habitat "xerothermic semi-natural grasslands rich in orchids (6210*)" within a grazing area representing the SCI IT1110030 "Xerothermic Oasis of the Susa Valley and the Chianocco and Foresto Orrido", today subjected to variations of the flower compositions and to the progressive invasion of trees and shrubs because they have not been used for decades.

The problems and the threats to the conservation of the habitat 6210* in the SCI are connected with several factors, such as the neglect, the fires, the unauthorized access of motor vehicles, the changes of the soil intended use.

The project intends to define the technical aspects and to realize the necessary actions for the conservation and the restoration of significant parts of habitat, in order to also enable the managing Authority of the Cottian Alps' protected areas to start a long-term sustainable management of the habitat itself, gathering guidelines which can be applied in other areas of the Natura 2000 network too.

The project aims to restore the areas of the habitats which are covered with shrubs and trees through bush clearing and cutting actions: although on the one hand the transitional formations are included in the habitat 6210*, on the other hand they represent a serious threat to the orchids. Another project's goal is to define the guidelines for a rational management of the habitat for conservation purposes, and adopt them in some areas, also by purchasing animals and providing the necessary equipment for grazing. The project also intends to enhance the participatory and tourist aspect of the protected area, fostering an aware use of its natural aspects.

Furthermore, through agricultural-grazing actions the project also aims to restore about 20 hectares of habitat 6210* which are now degraded because of the invasion of trees and shrubs, and to establish a conservation management of about 83 hectares of xerothermic grasslands.

Life Xero-grazing project (from www.lifexerograzing.eu)
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