The general objectives of the project are restoration of the dry-acidic Continental open habitats (2330, 4030, 6210/6210*) found within the 7 Nature 2000 sites of the western Po Plain, to a favourable conservation status; and the creation of core areas and ecological corridors to reduce fragmentation and increase connectivity.
Specific objectives are:
Ob.1. Restoration of the vertical and horizontal structures of the target habitats by means of a dynamic approach that preserves: pioneer aspects (bare soil and soil biological crusts); typical aspects (perennial herbs/forbs and/or dwarf shrubs); and mature aspects (dense shrubby patches at the contacts with the forest communities). This approach is consistent with the dynamic nature of the Po Plain that hosts the target habitats, which is the result of different past and present causes, both natural (river dynamics and natural vegetation dynamics) and human (unpredictable land use). It thus takes into account the processes driving the formation of the target habitats, and results in higher biodiversity; in comparison with a static approach that preserves only one aspect of the target habitats, and results in lower biodiversity. Due to prolonged abandonment, the dynamic approach imples the realization of numerous extraordinary actions at the project sites. Once the typical structure of the target habitats has been restored, their long-term maintenance will be ensured by ordinary actions distribuited over time (After-LIFE plan, with indication of funds, managers and operators of the required actions).
Ob.2. Control/reduction of the invasive woody species Robinia pseudoacacia, Prunus serotina, and Ailanthus altissima , those most responsible for biodiversity loss in the target habitats.
Ob.3. Improvement of the floristic composition (increase in plant diversity) in the target habitats
Ob.4. Creation of new patches of the target habitats: H2330 (1.450 m2 - SAC IT2010013), H6210 (10.825 m2 - SACs IT1180027 and IT1120010), H4030 (8.800 m2 - SAC IT2010010).
Ob.5. Production, transfer and replication of guidelines for the management and monitoring of the target habitats on the basis of project results, with the aim of providing management models for an evidence-based conservation.
Ob.6. To make the greater public and stakeholders aware of the importance of Natura 2000 Habitats by promoting the project and its results.
The Drylands project is funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union