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Integrated management of insubric-prealpine habitats (Monte Barro)
Date du début: 1 mai 2001, Date de fin: 31 déc. 2004 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Background Located in north western Italy, the Monte Barro Regional Park covers a mountainous area between Brianza and Lecco, close to Lake Como. Its ecological and scientific importance justified its inclusion in the Natura 2000 network as a Site of Community Interest. The area features a high diversity of habitat and a great number of indigenous species. The park’s Insubric meadows contain a wide variety of flowering species and support many migratory birds which are attracted to the large number of invertebrates that live in the meadows. Threats to the meadow habitats and their wildlife had been detected and restoration actions were identified as necessary. The abandonment of traditional agricultural grassland management techniques had led to a gradual reforestation of the area. Other knock-on effects from the changing land use patterns led to water supplies in the park starting to silt up and fire risks were increasing. In addition, the park’s bats populations were a species noted as needing special attention because human interference in caves had altered the bats’ micro habitats. Objectives Core objectives for this LIFE project therefore involved: improving the condition of natural and semi-natural meadow habitats; preserving petrifying springs; replanting forest areas that had previously been damaged by fires; and restoring the natural character of caves in order to boost the conservation status of local bat populations. Initial work would produce a baseline of species in the area and also identify the necessary management inputs required to meet the aforementioned habitat improvement objectives. A series of educational and awareness-raising activities would complement the practical habitat works to help secure long-term local support for the Natura site’s wildlife. Results All of the project’s objectives have been achieved. Good working relationships between the partners and stakeholders were considered as a key success factor for the results which included: Restoring 44 ha of grasslands habitats listed in Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive; Rehabilitating 4 petrifying springs habitats listed in Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive; Reinstating 6 ha of forest habitats listed in Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive; Creating 1 artificial cave to improve the conservation status of bats species listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive; and Ex-situ conservation actions successfully targeted 56 plants species (including one orchid species). Some 7000 plant seedlings were used for restocking and monitoring information emerging from the project site continues to help Lombardy Region comply with its legislative requirements for updating Natura 2000 Standard Data Forms.