Alta Murgia

Murgia Alta Natura 2000 site (IT9120007), SCI and SPA, in Southern Italy, includes a National Park since 2004. It is characterized by a typical Mediterranean agro-pastoral landscape with millennial land-use history mainly occupied by semi-natural rocky dry grasslands, traditionally used as extensive pastures. In Murgia Alta the semi-natural grassland ecosystem hosts numerous endemic, rare or trans-Adriatic distribution species. This area is considered of crucial importance for the conservation of wildlife and priority species.

During the last three decades, in Murgia Alta the dominant semi-natural grassland ecosystem characterized by endemic and threatened species has been exposed to accelerated processes of habitat degradation, fragmentation and biotic contamination (i.e., woody encroachment), within and next to its borders, on local biodiversity, due to both agricultural intensification (transformation of grassland pastures into agricultural cereal crops intensification) and land abandonment. Furthermore, the long-term below-average rainfall (climate change), the increasing of either legal and illegal mining activities or wind farms infrastructures, fire events and the spread of invasive species contribute to the threat to the ecosystem, which is in danger of destruction.

Restoration field activity

Within the Alta Murgia National Park, a set of restoration methods was implemented in the pilot site of Masseria Modesti for the recovery of dry grassland communities in agricultural land. Within 42 rectangular plots (20 x 10 m), different combinations of restoration techniques took place, including sod cutting, seed sowing and hay transferring from close-by source areas, cover with jute net. The restoration actions have been developed in collaboration with the Botanical Garden of University of Bari and were carried out during autumn-winter 2022. Early-stage results, in term of changes of functional and structural patterns of plant communities, have been observed in the field during spring 2023.


El Bruc

Palo Laziale

Alta Murgia



The LIFE20 PRE/IT/000007 project is funded at a percentage of 60% from the LIFE financial instrument “LIFE Preparatory project – Programme for the Environment and Climate Action” of the European Commission.

The GREEN FUND co-finances the NewLife4Drylands project for 2021, 2022 and 2023 through financing the University of Crete – Natural History Museum of Crete and the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature partners with the total amount of €52,000.00.

The Alta Murgia National Park joins the NewLife4Drylands project for the exploitation of NBS to restore natural grasslands