Pasture and grasslands
Between rocks and woods
Grasslands cover about 17% of the Park's surface. The best grasslands from the forage point of view are the so-called meadow pastures, present from 800 metres above sea level: in the past they were mowed and grazed directly, a practice that favoured the presence of good forage species. This type of grassland is generally found at lower altitudes and at the entrance to the main valleys: the best are found in the Val Grande near Palanfrè and in the Esterate area, where,following the reduction in farming due to depopulation, we are now seeing the forest reclaiming the land.
In the grasslands formerly created by deforestation and now no longer farmed in a way to preserve their fertility and richness in good fodder, there is a progressive appearance of frugal and arid species. In this way the so-called lean grasslands.
Another example of pasture deterioration, linked in this case to overgrazing, is seen in thenardetum. It develops in fertile and fresh pasture basins, where, due to the intense trampling of livestock, the more delicate species are gradually eliminated, leaving room for mat grass Nardus stricta. This graminaceous plant can stand the compacted and poorly aerated soil well; repeatedly trampled it produces dense tufts that in extreme cases form a dense, matted carpet.
The rough and rocky terrain with snowfields and detritus debris typical of the Alpine environment of the Maritime Alps does not allow the presence of large high altitude grasslands, mostly reduced to discontinuous grasslands** and grassy ledges.