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The Loja Marshland

In the immense extension of the rice-field of the Pavese and Novarese areas, a biological entity of extraordinary interest, has survived and been saved from the dangers of destruction which had struck the nearby area instead, precisely ,the springs of Rogge Guida and Raina. The latter areas, notwithstanding the destruction, still preserve a notable environmental value.
The Lombardy region which had an awareness and sensitivity towards the solicitudes coming from the scientific and environmental world, established, in 1984, an orientated natural reserve on the central part of the area and later handed it over to the care and management of the province of Pavia.
The Loja Marshland is located between the Municipalities of S. Angelo and Zeme Lomellina. It represents a flooded, relic woods of black alders (Alnus glutinosa), a habitat which was once quite common in the marshland depressions of still waters, sortumosous land and in the lower river terraces of the old water courses of all the territory.
The dominant species is the black alder rarely associated with the common oak (Quercus peduncolata), white poplar (Populus alba), the white willow ( Salix alba ), the willow (Salix caprea), the maple, the hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), the wild pear and apple trees, and few exemplars of the elm (Ulmus) a species wiped out by Dutch elm disease. In the underbrush among the most significant species found are: the hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha), the hazel (Corylus avellana), the blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and the dog-wood, wild cornel (Cornus sanguinea). The most important herbaceous vegetation found is: the purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) the water-milfoil (Myriophyllum verticillatum), the yellow iris, the ditch reed of the marshland, the great cattail, (Typha latifolia), the nemifar or water-lily (Nuphar luteum), and some species of sedge (Carex).

latifolia), the nemifar or water-lily (Nuphar luteum), and some species of sedge (Carex). The fauna includes about 15 species of mammals such as the shrew mouse (Sorex), the dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), the weasel (Mustela nivalis), the polecat (Mustela putorius), the naturia (Myocastor coypus), a South American rodent which probably escaped from a breeding farm.
The varied environment determines the presence of extraordinary birds which are dependent on the running waters on the woods and on the barren wasteland or the sowable land.  Only a few shall be mentioned:

the Ardeidae, the kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), the various Anatidae, the black- winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus), the Acrocephalus acrocephalus, the water hen (Gallinula chloropus) and the great spotted woodpecker (Dryocopus martius martius). The presence of reptiles and amphibians such as the grass snake, the rat snake (Zamenis gemonensis) the newt, the frog of Lataste can be noiced. Living in its waters are the brook lamprey (Lampreda ssp), the freshwater crayfish (Astacus fluviatilis), while amongst the fish there are the pike (Esox lucius), the tench (Tinca tinca), the carp (Cyprinus carpio), the rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus), the alborella, a kind of freshwater fish (Alburnus alborella ), the spined loach (Cobitis taenia ), the masked loach.

There are also thousands of insects among which is the rare species of Carabus clathratus.
The Pro Natura oasis extends over 10 hectares of woodlands that develop along the flow of the Cavo Solerò and Roggia Raia.

The waters of the springs flood a great part of the woods which take on the truly authentic characteristics of the environment of a marsh.
With the cuttings and the seeds drawn directly on the spot from an autochthonous species, some areas that had been previously planted as an industrial grove and used as a city waste dump, have been restored to their natural vegetation.
Lastly, in the area, two itineries have been prepared which allow visitors to understand the remarkable secrets of the marshland.

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