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L'Agogna Morta

The Agogna Morta is a humid area which includes a crescent-shaped pond from which it takes its name and which is an abandoned meander of the Agogna torrent resulting in the aftermath of a hydraulic project on the riverbed undertaken in the 1950's. It is situated between Basso Novarese and Nicorvo in the provinces of Novara and Pavia respectively and it represents the last environment of its kind along the Piedmontese route of the Agogna torrent. Initially the territory extended for about 6 hectares which had been acquired from the local federation of Pro Natura, cultural Association Burchvif of Borgolavezzaro.

The project of an open-air ecological laboratory and fauna observatory developed through a process of restoration and reclamation. The prime objective was to restore the area of the lands within the pond and its banks with a wooded area which would be as close as possible to the original vegetation. A deliberate attempt was also made to protect these areas from any disturbance that could eventually hinder the reconstruction of the original habitat. Since the spring of 1991 the experimentation began regarding the reconstruction of the Po Valley plain-growing woods composed of oaks and hornbeams (Carpinus betulus). Both the woods of Agognate and Gusago were used as models for the project. All the materials used in the re-establishment of the vegetation, trees and bushes came from the surrounding areas and respected all the possible criteria which can be called "eco-typicality".

As far as the scientific re-naturalization of the area concerned the project had foreseen the planting of various fruit trees in detached areas to favour the presence of frugivorous avian fauna as well as the fulfilment of an interesting nursery which would allow the safeguarding of the genetic patrimony of the species living in the area. Numerous species of fauna can be found: mammals, amphibians, reptiles and saurians as well as the typical species of water birds such as the blue heron (Ardea cenerea), the night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), the little bittern (Ixobrycus minutus), the moor hen (Galinula chloropus), the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) etc.

Hundreds of species of insects can also be found as well. In particular the presence of a beetle, the Carabus clathratus, must be noted since it is very rare today in the Po valley. The area has been equipped with didactic signposts indicating the content and the characteristics of the oasis as well as the norms of good behaviour which must be respected by visitors. Due to its scientific worth and contribution, the project has been greatly acknowledged for its importance and has also been included in the esteemed list of the “Cento progetti più verdi d’Italia” of the Carnia Alpe Verde Award in 1995 and the Rolex Award 1996.

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