iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Agronomic methods for mountain grassland habitat restoration for faunistic purposes in a protected area of the northern Apennines (Italy)

Francesco Cervasio (1), Giovanni Argenti (1)   , Marco Genghini (2), Maria Paola Ponzetta (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 3, Pages 490-496 (2016)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1515-008
Published: Jan 07, 2016 - Copyright © 2016 SISEF

Research Articles

The abandonment of pastures often leads to a remarkable deterioration of grasslands, caused by the spread of intrusive, herbaceous and woody species which reduces the general quality of pastures. Different treatments aimed at improving the grassland and enhancing the forage quality of herbaceous resources have been developed to face this problem. We report the results of a five-year experiment conducted in a protected area of central Italy (the “Laghi di Suviana e Brasimone” regional park) on an abandoned pasture inside a beech forest encroached by intrusive species (mainly bracken). We analyzed the effect on sward’s specific composition and grazing value of two agronomic factors: (i) the establishment method (ploughing followed by sowing of a forage mixture versus no intervention), and (ii) the number of cuts performed on vegetation during the growing season (0, 1 or 2 cuts). Plots were arranged according to a split-split-plot experimental design with three replications, with the sampling dates as the main factor, the establishment technique as the subplot factor, and the number of cuts as the sub-subplot factor. In each plot, data were recorded once a month from June to September every year from 2006 to 2010, in order to assess the botanical composition and the quality of the sward. The main pastoral and botanical parameters of pastures were significantly affected by both cutting and sowing. Establishment by sowing significantly reduced the presence of bracken, even with no cuts, with strong effects on the qualitative value of the pasture. A single cut resulted in an efficient recovery of the pasture as compared to cutting twice, especially in sown plots. Our results confirmed that the regular and continued maintenance of the recovered areas is crucial to ensure the long-term preservation of the results achieved by the improvements.


Botanical Composition, Grasslands, Grazing Value, Pteridium aquilinum, Sowing

Authors’ address

Francesco Cervasio
Giovanni Argenti
Maria Paola Ponzetta
Department of Agrifood Production and Environmental Sciences (DiSPAA), University of Florence, p.le delle Cascine 18, I-50144 Firenze (Italy)
Marco Genghini
Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRAA), v. Ca’ Fornacetta 9, I-40064 Ozzano dell’Emilia, Bologna (Italy)

Corresponding author

Giovanni Argenti


Cervasio F, Argenti G, Genghini M, Ponzetta MP (2016). Agronomic methods for mountain grassland habitat restoration for faunistic purposes in a protected area of the northern Apennines (Italy). iForest 9: 490-496. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1515-008

Academic Editor

Andrea Cutini

Paper history

Received: Nov 30, 2014
Accepted: Sep 02, 2015

First online: Jan 07, 2016
Publication Date: Jun 01, 2016
Publication Time: 4.23 months

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