In southern Europe, many mountain valleys are experiencing intense landscape modification as a result of the rural exodus and changes in production systems. The reduction of grazing by herbivores due to the decline of the extensive hut is affecting especially the open spaces and natural pastures in particular, manifesting in a rapid expansion of shrubs and in extensive processes of natural afforestation, which cause a loss of biodiversity, a homogenization of the landscape, an accumulation of vegetable fuel and an increased risk of large fires, a high and permanent threat in the current scenario of climate change.

European open landscapes evolved under a natural fire and herbivorous regime that today can be emulated by sustainable management practices. Controlled burning and guided grazing are presented as key options to reduce fuel accumulation, slow down the expansion of the woody component and prevent the loss of mosaic landscapes and their associated biodiversity.

The main objective of the OPEN2PRESERVE project is to connect the current interdisciplinary scientific knowledge, with technology and practical operation to implement and valorize combined techniques that guarantee the preservation of ecosystem services linked to open spaces of high natural value. The project proposes the development of different regional pilot experiences, based on the combination of guided herbivorism and initial techniques of fuel reduction through controlled burning. In all experiences, we seek to offer innovative solutions that guarantee the economic viability of the bet and can serve as an example and training for the realization of similar initiatives at the local and regional level.

Project's website:

  • 001_O2P
  • 003_O2P