The Magri meadows

Lean meadows (Festuco-Brometalia) are semi-natural grassland environments that have a high environmental value: they are in fact extremely rich in thermophilic plant species , that is, that require good temperature conditions, and that sometimes express arid conditions, linked to a calcareous type substrate. Among the many species that appear in these environments, several orchids stand out.

The floristic richness (that is, the high number of plant species present) corresponds to a significant faunal meaning , especially with regard to the entomofauna (insects). Particularly attractive are some butterflies that find their optimal habitat here.

The conservation of these habitats is strictly dependent on the management methods. In Lombardy and in Brianza the lean lawns are present only on the limestone reliefs in the most favorable exposures, and therefore the presences inside the Park of Montevecchia and Valle del Curone are among the most southern and at low altitude, residual edges of environments that little further north, on the first pre-Alpine reliefs (Grigne, Resegone, Corni di Canzo, Monte Barro), they reach considerable extensions. At higher altitudes, with different species participation, these forms of vegetation constitute “primary grasslands”: they are stable and do not tend to transform themselves, evolving towards the forest. At lower altitudes, these areas occupy spaces torn away in the distant past from the thermophilic forest, dominated by the downy oak, to allow the cultivation of land or the practice of grazing.

The cessation of agricultural activity, which has now become scarce in inaccessible places, with unfavorable morphologies and water shortages, restarts the transformation towards the forest, with the rapid disappearance of many species of remarkable naturalistic importance, whose presence is precisely linked to the periodic mowing practice

Alcune specie dei prati magri

Here the terraces (called ronchi) have been intensely and painstakingly cultivated until the 1950s, with vineyards, vegetables and even cereals. The deep economic transformations have led to their almost total abandonment, as it has also been for the ancient rural nucleuses of the Galbusera Bianca and Galbusera Nera farms.

The forest has thus begun the reconquest of the abandoned lands, with the entry first of the shrub species (sanguinello, prugnolo spinosa, bramble) and then of the trees & nbsp; (black hornbeam, manna ash, downy oak, cherry tree). The articulation of the territory between the residual meadows, the uncultivated, the shrubby spaces, the wood, with the definition of “margin” environments has created the ideal environment for some species of valuable birds, including the small one.

But in the second half of the 1990s there was a revival of interest in agricultural activities and at the same time the pressure from recreational activities grew strongly. The Park must therefore manage different needs that are often conflicting:
– the request for the recovery of surfaces for agricultural activity, especially for the cultivation of the vine;
– the need for birdlife, which requires shrubby environments;
– the request from the visitors, of open landscapes, resting places, easy paths;
– the need to preserve lawn surfaces, properly managed, indispensable for preserving the habitat of lean lawns.

Where to look at meadows?

The habitat of lean meadows is one of the three habitats present in the Park that the European Union considers of priority interest for the conservation of nature on our continent. It is found on the south-facing slopes and intensely terraced on the summit parts of the Montevecchia hill and the Santa Croce valley, but the most interesting surfaces are observed on thirty hectares in the municipalities of Perego and Rovagnate , in a corner of remarkable landscape charm.

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