GRANATHA - GRowing AviaN in Apennine's Tuscany HeathlAnds
Restoration of habitat type 4030 (European dry heaths), that is currently disappearing in the Pratomagno area (Tuscany) because of the abandonment of traditional heathland management practices.
Regeneration of heaths which have not been cut for a long time, in order to obtain plants suitable for the production of brooms.
Good Practice Description
Prescribed burning is defined as the scientific application of fire in specific environmental conditions by trained staff on planned areas, in order to obtain specific objectives.
In this case the good practice consists in the regeneration of the shrub layer, composed mainly of Erica scoparia, removing the trees which are encroaching and modifying habitat 4030. Indeed, after the fire, the stumps generate new vigorous sprouts, while the tree layer disappears.
This is how the typical structure of habitat 4030 is recreated, since it is fundamental for those bird species protected under the European Nature Directives which are the target of the Life Project Granatha (Sylvia undata, Lullula arborea, Lanius collurio, Circus pygargus, Anthus campestris, Caprimulgus aeuropeus, Circaetus gallicus, Pernis apivorus).
Moreover, the Prescribed burning , through the interruption of both the vertical and horizontal structure of the combustible biomass, guarantees the reduction of forest fires hazard, and its application can be considered a training activity of the forest fire prevention workers.
The Pratomagno mountain range (Tuscany Apennine), area where the heaths, very common here, were regularly managed for the production of handicrafts, among which the ‘granate’, a type of artisanal brooms used for sweeping the streets of villages and towns.
The good practice can be replicated in all those territories where there is an interest in specific effects of fire (eg reduction of fire hazard, forest regeneration, habitat restoration, pasture maintenance). However, the presence of highly trained, sensible and skilled fire management personnel is essential.
In the final part of the LIFE GoProFor database sheet it is possible to download material relating to the project, including a table with the basic technical and operational requirements to be able to recreate a Prescribed burning site.