The importance of open habitats
Open areas such as dry grasslands are incredibly diverse and precious habitats, but they are decreasing globally. This is because of widespread agricultural practices and abandonment of traditional pastoralism, which used to prevent the spread of scrub and woodland. Many plant and animal species would benefit from the restoration of open areas, and the lanner is among them.
Restoring grasslands in Bomarzo
On February 28th we started our work on Action C4 of the LIFE LANNER project: “Safeguarding open areas for the lanner”. For now, we are focusing on the Natural Reseve of Monte Casoli in Bomarzo. Activity coordination is carried out by the Province of Viterbo, specifically the Forestry Resources and Protected Areas department. The aim is to reduce shrub in areas historically dedicated to semi-wild grazing of farm animals.
These areas used to be the most important land cover type for lanners, especially young individuals hunting prey on the ground during their first independent foraging trips. To restore such habitats, our first intervention on the plain of Bomarzo was done with state-of-the-art machinery which only cuts the plant above the ground, with no damage to the soil itself.
Once the work in Bomarzo is finished, Action C4 will be stopped in spring and summer, so as to avoid disturbance to wildlife during the breeding period.