Space for biodiversity: Unique animal and plant species find refuge in organic fields. A is to prove itNaturaSi Ecosystem Farms, a network of organic stores in Italy. According to estimates, on average 14% of the NaturaSi ecosystem plantation area is reserved for hedges, woodlands, and wetlands Where wild species coexist with cultivated fields without the use of synthetic chemicals; percentage higher than that indicated by European Biodiversity Strategy that It states that between now and 2030, at least 10% of field area will be reserved for natural areas. In fact, on the majority of these organic and biodynamic farms, different habitats are located next to fields, from wetlands to forests, from irrigation canals to hay meadows. Thanks to this differentiation of environments, many of these farms are home to rare or rapidly declining animal and plant species, some of which are protected at the community and regional level.
This was witnessed by more than 200 people, including adults and children, who, in view of the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, took part in BioBlitz, scientific monitoring activity in the Cascine Orsine di Bereguardo (an emblematic company of the NaturaSì network) accompanied by ten natural experts from the Natural Sciences Society of Verbano Cusio Ossola. The citizen science process, with the peculiarity of being conducted on a farm, detected a large number of species including plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and invertebrates, including some that have community protection under the 1992 European Habitats Directive.
The path guided by a natural scientist led toIdentify 30 different species of birds. Among the most important, due to community interest, are the night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), the purple heron (Ardea purpurea) and the honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus). The first two breed in Zelata’s large herons and find sustenance in rice paddies and company fields, where populations of insects, amphibians, reptiles and birds can count on respectful management of animal and plant biodiversity. The honey buzzard is a migratory bird of prey that winters in sub-Saharan Africa and returns to nest in the spring. It feeds on insects such as wasps and their larvae.
between Reptiles and amphibians During the day there are species such as the Saettone (Zamenis longissimus), a common snake in well-preserved lowland forests. An excellent climber, hunting small mammals and birds in the treetops. From the same foliage it is also possible to hear the song of Italian tree frogs (Hyla intermedia), a small bright green anuran perfectly mimicking among the foliage which uses suckers at its fingertips to climb upright vertical surfaces. Among insects, however, the protagonist is the stag beetle (Lucanus cervus), a beetle that has been spotted thanks to the watchful eye of naturalists. Among the plants, “nature seekers” found some interesting protected species: swamp ranunculus or poisonous buttercup (Ranunculus sceleratus), cress chiana (Rorippa amphibia) and water iris (Limniris pseudacorus). Sightings that add to the biodiversity detected in another NaturaS constituency company, San Michele de Cortellazo (VE), where observations lasting more than 5 years have highlighted the presence of marsh bugs, purple herons, barn owls and several listed bat species. red for endangered species. According to the Faunians, the farm is home to 72 species of birds, 15 species of terrestrial mammals, 10 bats, 5 reptiles, 3 amphibians, and 72 plant species.
“Biodiversity is not an abstract concept, but the basis of healthy agriculture, where the diversity of organisms favors the sustenance and cycle of the ecosystem. In this process, we have a fundamental role, because We must respect the natural process in which it is triggered, to protect our health as well as that of the Earth – explains Fabio Prescasin, President of NaturaSì – We as citizens, as consumers, should not stop at what food tastes like, which is certainly important, but it is also essential to know where it comes from. The root is the earth. When food is healthy for humans, that means it’s healthy for the earth, too.”
For the BioBlitz organized by NaturaS on the occasion of the World Day for Biological Diversity, the doors of Cascine Orsine were opened, a farm in Bereguardo, in the province of Pavia, which has an area of 700 hectares, of which 350 hectares are cultivated using the biomethod. Cascine Orsine is located in the Ticino Park: biodynamic agriculture has made it possible to protect unique and exotic species of flora in the Po Valley such as low oak forests and riparian forests, environments that have vanished from the man-made landscape. There are trees such as English oak, black alder, black poplar, and white poplar, even more than 40 meters high, and the complex layered structure of the forest. Some species of animals that have been absent since the end of the eighteenth century have returned, such as the roe deer, which entered the park north and then expanded after finding a favorable area in the forests of Zelata; There are also martens, badgers, foxes, and many birds of prey, whose presence has increased exponentially over the years.
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