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Grasslands

Grasslands are plant communities where the vegetation consists of grasses that are mainly perennial. They cover an area of the Park which corresponds to 29.5 % of the entire protected area.

The dominant species are usually tufted grasses belonging to different genera, among which the Bromus, the Sesleria, the Festuca, the Stipa, the Nardus, etc. that create their corresponding plant formations.

Depending on the use, which has effects in terms of plants differentiations, grasslands can be distinguished into pastures, mowing meadows and grazing fields. Pastures are mostly connected with slope morphology, whereas mowing meadows and grazing fields are to be found especially on flat or slightly sloping areas and particularly in tectonic-karstic plateaus, such as the one of the Quarti. During spring, when snow melts down, the grassland is home to many birds that use these temporarily flooded areas as a place to rest and feed, whereas during summer, rare and localized species such as the whinchat, the wagtails and the garden warblers chose it as a place to nest.

Depending on the stage in the ecological succession, grasslands can be divided into two groups: the primary grasslands, located above the upper altitudinal limit of the woody vegetation,  which represent an important feeding area for many species, from the chamois to the partridge and from the chough to the golden eagle; the secondary grasslands, located in a lower position, which have replaced former well structured vegetation, such as woods and shrubs, and which represent a feeding area, especially during spring, for red and roe deers and many nesting bird species such as the woodlark or the tawny pipit or the red-footed falcon and the lesser kestrel among the migrant birds.

The grassland is very important in terms of biodiversity since, besides hosting a huge amount of species, it is also home to many orchids and rare and endemic species, such as the Majella cornflower (Centaurea tenoreana), exclusive of the Park.

Image of kestrel
Image of a glassland
Image of glasslands - Quarto S. Chiara
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