Agro Pontino – Project area

Name of the area: Agro Pontino
Surface area (ha): 158,227
Description: Mediterranean lowland agro-ecosystem
NATURA 2000 sites: The following SCIs and SPAs are located in the area of the Agro Pontino selected by GREENCHANGE: SCIs IT6040002 “Ninfa (aquatic environments)”, IT6040003 “Gricilli Lakes”, IT6040008 “Abandoned canals of the Pontina land reclamation”; SPAs IT6030043 “Monti Lepini”, IT6040043 “Monti Ausoni and Aurunci”, IT6040015 “Circeo National Park”; finally, the Natural Monument “Garden of Ninfa” is also located in the area. The overall area included in the Natura 2000 network is 794 ha.
Habitats: There are 7 habitats of Community interest according to the Habitats Directive: 3120, 3140, 3150, 3260, 3280, 6420, 6430. In particular, the portion of habitat 3120 present in the SCI “Gricilli Lakes” is the only one of its kind in the Region of Lazio.

The Agro Pontino is a vast plain involved in a complex geological history evolved in two phases: the first attributable to the Jurassic-Miocene period during which the Apennine orogeny occurred, the second from the Plio-Pleistocene until recent times, characterized from relaxing tectonics and connected to the of the Tyrrhenian Sea opening.

The particular hydrogeological configuration derives from the geological-structural features.
The nearby carbonate massif of the Lepini receives the water that re-emerges along the south-western edge of the relief through a large number of springs, differentiated by flow and water chemistry.
In the foothill field are the major emergencies of karst aquifers: mineral water sources, but in some cases mineralized and thermal (sulphurous and ferruginous), are located near the Monti Lepini (Ninfa, Cavata system, Vescovo lakes, Gricilli lakes ) and Ausoni (the springs of the Pedicata, the Feronia and Mole); the total flow rates of these aquifers are 14 mc/s for the Monti Lepini and 6 mc/s for the Monti Ausoni.
The transformations effected by the reclamation between the 20s and 30s of the last century completely modified a territory that once was characterized by vast wetlands and by the wide wooded cover of the Selva di Terracina.  
In particular, surface hydrography has been distorted by reclamation works and channelled into some large outflow lines and into a dense network of secondary funnels. In particular, the intervention sites – the Sezze site, the Mole springs, Gricilli lakes and disused canals – are located in the hydrographic and drainage network of the Ufente river; the Ninfa site refers to the homonymous river, fed by subalvee springs.
The climate is characterized by annual rainfall between 800 and 1000 mm per year, with abundant rainfall in the autumn season and an arid period between June and August, typical of the Mediterranean ecoregion.
The Agro Pontino shows characteristics and problems common to most of the rural areas of the European plains. It is marked by the residual presence of areas with high naturalistic value – partially compromised and threatened by human activities – and by a highly exploited agricultural matrix, which offers a marginal contribution in terms of ecosystem services but which maintains high potential for recovery and restoration.
The primary ecological importance of these territories lies in their connective function. Being located among areas of national importance of national importance – Lepini, Aurunci, Circeo – they have a potentially significant role in the dispersive dynamics of the species, as reported in the studies on the Ecological Network of the province of Latina. This functionality is currently only partially expressed, precisely because of the strong artificialization of the agricultural matrix and the disappearance of linear connective elements (hedges, rows, riparian strips).     
In the area directly affected by GREENCHANGE, the areas of greatest naturalistic value are the SCI IT6040002 Ninfa, IT6040003 Laghi Gricilli, IT6040012 Laghi Fogliano, Monaci, Caprolace and Pantani dell’Inferno. These areas have a significant ecological importance at local and regional level and, for some components, also national.    
There are 6 areas of intervention, combined with related project actions:

  • Action C3 – Total area 43 ha, of which 86% for agricultural use and 14% for natural areas and waterways. 100% is publicly owned as part of the regional property;
  • Action C4 – Total area ha 82, of which 5% for agricultural use and 95% natural areas. 100% is privately owned by the Caetani Foundation;    
  • Action C5 – Total area  ha 280, of which 100% for agricultural use. 100% is privately owned by the Caetani Foundation;
  • Action C6 – Total area ha 167, of which 96% for agricultural use and 4% for natural areas. 96% is the private property of the Ganci and Agrilatina farms and 4% is a Regional body Property;
  • Action C7 – Total area 115 ha, of which 100% for agricultural use. 100% private property of the Roana farm;
  • Action C8 – 85 km of windbreaks. 100% is a state – owned property.