InnoForESt partners and technicians of the Agriculture and Forest Service of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano visit a farm as an exemplary case of successful interventions of pasture restoration supported by European funds.
16 July 2020
On July 16th, InnoForESt partners along with the new forest rangers of the Forest Service of the Autonomous Province of Trento and the technicians of the Agriculture and Forest Service of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano visited Malga Stramaiolo, a farm located on the mountain plateau of Piné in the East of Trentino. The day served as an occasion to illustrate a virtuous example of correct management of mountain pastures and to compare the different management approaches of the two neighboring provinces of Trento and Bolzano, regarding the political and financial instruments as support measures of rural activities. The meeting was also a great opportunity to discuss the new protocol for monitoring and control of the Forest Service of Trento and to share knowledge and experiences regarding governance of mountain pastures.
After years of mismanagement by the previous handlers, Malga Stramaiolo is now benefiting from the wise management of the farmer Andrea Giovannini, who leads the rural activity with passion and expertise. He breeds cows of a local alpine race, which graze freely in the pastures which surround the farm. The milk is then transformed into cheese by the farmer himself in the small dairy production facility located onsite, in accordance with traditional techniques. The farm also includes agritourism, providing visitors a taste of typical local cuisine, where they can buy directly the cheese produced on site.
Andrea Giovannini is contributing not only to the preservation of traditional rural activity, but also to the conservation and maintenance of the typical alpine landscape, historically characterized by a mosaic of open and wooded areas. The particular ecological conditions (exposure, presence of invasive species and water stagnation), which characterized the pastures of Malga Stramaiolo, necessitate careful and constant interventions, in order to preserve the quality of the forage and the multi-functionality of the agroforestry ecosystem. Duration of mountain grazing, dimension, and distribution of cattle on the surface and correct manuring are only some of the ordinary interventions generally requested to the managers of cattle grazing. Nevertheless, the specific situation for Malga Stramaiolo entailed a series of extraordinary interventions which Andrea Giovannini implemented with the technical support and close collaboration of the Forest Service of Trento and the European funds granted by the EU Rural Development Plan (RDP).
In this regard, the Forest Service of Trento plays an active role in the management of EU RDP. It is responsible for the funding applications related to forestry sector, especially regarding forestry infrastructures, restore of degraded habitats, traditional fences, prevention of damages by large carnivores, non-profitable silvicultural interventions and purchase of forestry means and equipment. The service advises on the administrative aspects, regarding the procedures for the submission of the application and the modality of financing. Above all, it offers technical support in the very preliminary phase of planning of the interventions or in the choice of purchase, taking care of the whole development of the intervention, putting at the disposal of the beneficiaries the expertise and know-how of its forestry officers.
In this specific case the intention was to restore the surrounding grasslands and to bring back the farm to its maximum potential. To improve the quality of the pasture a new draining system has been implemented to contrast the water stagnation and part of the surface was completely restored to eradicate invasive species, which are not good for cows to ingest. Natural elements such as big boulders and a water pool were introduced in order to provide natural refuge for local wildlife and to better integrate the rural area with the surrounding forestry ecosystem, increasing the biodiversity and the ecological value of the site. Moreover, the restoration interventions were implemented with full respect of the historical and archaeological elements present in the area, in particular, the rest of a metal extraction site of the prehistoric era and ancient dry stone walls belonged to the previous alpine communities, in order to preserve the cultural identity and historic heritage of the mountain area.
For the Italian InnoForESt partners this has been a great occasion to see a concrete case of an effective use of the financial resources made available by the EU RDP funds in relation to forest-pasture management and an example of upscaling of the innovation within the provincial territory. The discussion with the officers of the Agriculture and Forest Service of Bolzano was inspiring and despite the large differences characterized by the rural background of the two provinces, the meeting highlighted similar difficulties and problems. This was certainly another occasion to lay the basis for further future collaborations and exchange between the two regions, as attempt of replication of the innovation strategy.
PROVINCIA AUTONOMA DI TRENTO
Servizio Foreste e Fauna