Assessment of management effect on grasslands characteristics in an area of the Apennines (North Italy)
¹University of Florence, School of Agriculture, DAGRI, P.le delle Cascine 18, IT50144 Firenze, Italy
²Unione di Comuni Valdarno e Valdisieve, Via XXV Aprile, 10, IT50068 Rufina (FI), Italy
In many regions of Europe, semi-natural grasslands not properly utilized face different threats, concerning changes in botanical composition and structural evolution, which can lead to a reduction of the qualitative value of forage biomass or, in the mid-long term, forest recovery. The present paper assesses various semi-natural grasslands within a mountain public property located in Tuscany (North Apennines, Italy) subjected to different types of utilization. Some of them are managed through cattle grazing during summer, whereas some others are only periodically mowed and utilization is performed only by wildlife occurring in the area. The paper analyses the importance of resource management and its impact on botanical composition and on qualitative value of forage production. Data collection of studied areas was conducted by means of vegetation assessment performed with a fast procedure that simplifies the botanical composition sampling. Results show the relevance of some environmental factors on grasslands evolution and on their composition (such as altitude and slope) and the importance of management on grassland quality and on level of shrub encroachment.