LIFE project aims to face several issues that threaten the integrity of dry grasslands in the four sites mentioned, including the abandonment of traditional rural practicessuch as mowing, extensive pasture and clear cutting. The lack of these management actions caused a slow evolution process towards the woods. Another aspect related to the previous one concerns the invasion of river beds and of dry grasslands by alien species favored by the progressive alteration of original habitats. These species accelerate the grasslands degradation processes and shrubby exotic plants as Amorpha fruticosa(false indigo bush) and to a lesser extent Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush) and Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven), make easier and quicker the evolution that lead to the afforestation.
As a result of this process many arid meadows that were very extended a time, are now seriously fragmented. The pressure of intensive farmingalso causes constant risk of plowing of the permanent meadows and the over.exploitation of dry grasslands due to increased irrigation, to mineral and organic fertilizers and to the sewage spill. All this advantages the almost irreversible alteration of the original dry grassland vegetation, determining the progressive depletion of primitive species, especially those endemic.
One of the greatest threats for the protection of these habitats also stems from the negative perception that for a long time considered these habitats as arid stony surfaces worthless and unusable.
To avert these threats, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region through the LIFE Project has begun working on a series of interventions that aim to restore dry grasslandsthrough trimming, mowing and sowing of cultivated areas now degraded by collecting seeds and flowers from surrounding stable meadows. The reintroduction of species typical of dry grasslands will be promoted through the propagation and cultivation in the nursery of rare and endangered species. Very important Is also the testing of innovative techniques for in-vitro propagation and subsequent acclimatization in the field of botanical species such as wild orchids that mostly qualify the dry meadows.
Another key aspect is the population information and co-involvmentincluding, in addition to the creation of this website as a tool interface to communicate to the citizens the results of the project, the preparation of publications and leaflets explaining the importance of natural areas and the opportunities connected to incentives for the conversion of arable land into permanent grassland.
Consideration will be given to on-site guided tours and a specific educational project for schools.