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Assessment of Grasslands Improvements for Faunistic Purposes in a Mountain Area of Central Italy
 
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1
DAGRI, University of Florence, Piazzale delle Cascine 18, 50144, Firenze, Italy
2
Consorzio LaMMA, Via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019, Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Giovanni Argenti   

DAGRI, University of Florence, Piazzale delle Cascine 18, 50144, Firenze, Italy
 
J. Ecol. Eng. 2023; 24(3):366–377
 
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ABSTRACT
Restoration of grassland habitats useful for wildlife is an intervention often carried out in various marginal environments (such as some mountainous areas) where agriculture and grassland management have undergone deep changes in recent decades. To assess some of these interventions, a study was conducted in an Apennine reserve in Central Italy, where some grassland areas recovered through different techniques were identified, represented by shrub clearing followed by sowing of a forage mixture and shrub clearing alone, which were compared with natural areas on which no interventions were carried out. Several parameters related to the botanical composition and quality of the recovered pastoral resources were analysed. In addition, in three different experimental sites, further in-depth investigations were carried out to assess the actual animal frequentation and the impact of the intake of the wild animals present (mainly red deer) on the occurring vegetation. Results highlighted the importance of recovery interventions in these situations, the success of mechanical treatments (even if represented by clearing shrubs alone), and the real appreciation for the recovered areas by wildlife, whose utilisation on different vegetal species could be assessed, highlighting a diverse feeding behaviour for some taxa, compared to domestic animals.