Rewilding Apennines and Agricultural University of Castel Madama join forces for the thirty-year co-management of the Bosco della Selva

May 28, 2024

The new long-term agreement has been signed to take care of the 360 hectares with a focus on rewilding, biodiversity conservation, and benefits for the local community.

Spring in Bosco della Selva, with the showy blooms of the Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum).
Angela Tavone


On June 5th, 2024 at 5:00 PM, in the Council Chamber of the Municipality of Castel Madama, Rewilding Apennines and the Agricultural University of Castel Madama will present the Convention for the naturalistic management of the “Bosco della Selva” area. An agreement that marks a significant step in the collaboration between the two institutions, which began in 2022, emphasizing their commitment to the conservation of the environment and sustainable development of local communities.

Poster of the public event to present the co-management agreement of Bosco della Selva between the Agricultural University and Rewilding Apennines.

The Convention, lasting 30 years, establishes a series of shared actions aimed at preserving and enhancing the “Bosco della Selva” area, a 360-ha area consisting of mixed forests, pastures, and ecotones, namely transition ecosystems with a prevalence of shrublands.

Rewilding Apennines ETS, whose institutional aims include implementing its ecosystem restoration practices in territories in continuity with the rewilding area of the central Apennines, aims to amplify the positive effects of its actions, both on ecosystems and local communities. Therefore, through this convention, it commits to carrying out renaturalization interventions, monitoring of fauna and flora, combating environmental crimes, environmental awareness, and promoting tourism and naturalistic volunteering.

The Agricultural University of Castel Madama will continue to ensure the exercise of common rights (usufruct), but with a greater focus on responsibility and sustainability in the use of natural resources, especially for timber and pasture. This is a different management approach for this territory compared to the past, now oriented towards the renaturalization of the area, minimizing the use of resources, and envisioning a low-impact enhancement program.

The old house within Bosco della Selva.
Nicolò Borgianni

Bosco della Selva has not been subject to logging for 30 years, which is already facilitating natural regenerative processes. However, civic grazing is still in place in some parts of the area. From this perspective, Rewilding Apennines aims to promote new rewilding initiatives related to natural grazing, while also seeking to establish a constructive dialogue with local farmers. Furthermore, Rewilding Apennines will work towards restoring ecosystems to improve habitat quality and encourage the presence and movement of species, as well as the spontaneous return of others that are currently missing, such as the red deer and the Italian hare. Monitoring of flora and fauna through direct and indirect methodologies will continue to be a key action for understanding the biodiversity of the area, along with additional activities to remove barbed wire to ensure the free movement of wildlife and clean up waste. It will also be important to conduct surveillance of the territory, alongside local stakeholders, to prevent fires and poaching incidents. Special attention will also be given to water points, monitoring and, where necessary, restoring springs to make them suitable for amphibian fauna. Furthermore, habitat improvement for reptiles – and others – is planned through the restoration, where possible, of dry-stone walls, which also have historical significance in the landscape. Care will also be taken of birds and bats through monitoring of nest boxes installed in previous years. Together with other local organizations, activities for nature tourism will be organized, involving volunteers and environmental hiking guides to introduce the biodiversity of the area to both locals and tourists, as well as collaborations with local producers to add value to quality products existing in the area. All this is possible thanks to the support that Rewilding Apennines receives from Rewilding Europe and Exodus Travels.

The Team Leader of Rewilding Apennines, Mario Cipollone, stated: “We are excited to launch this initiative which, in addition to being based on the principles of nature restoration and conservation, also represents an opportunity for growth for local communities. These communities will be involved in awareness-raising events on the natural heritage of the area, in the development of nature tourism and in the promotion of local products through the involvement of producers and local businesses.

The agreement with Rewilding Apennines is important as we share the goal of maximizing the protection, from a naturalistic point of view, of the public territory managed by the Agricultural University, thus creating growth opportunities for our community. Furthermore, this agreement is a further step against the land abandonment, which has led and still leads to acts of vandalism, illegal dumping of special waste, cutting of fences and trees in unauthorized areas“, said the Chair of the Agricultural University of Castel Madama, Giuseppe Salinetti.

The agreement between the Agricultural University and Rewilding Apennines is not a goal achieved but it is only the beginning of a collaboration aimed at studying and conserving the territory we manage, and above all, raising awareness among all citizens of the natural wonders and potential that the Bosco della Selva area offers us. The work already carried out by the team of Rewilding Apennines within the broader project «Il futuro ha un cuore antico – The future has an ancient heart», of which the Agricultural University has been the promoter for 8 years, with the children and young people of the School of Castel Madama, has already shown us the importance and effectiveness of carrying out educational and scientific activities immersed in nature“, adds Sara Chicca, Vice President of the Agricultural University of Castel Madama.


Since 2022, the year of the first agreement signed between the Agricultural University and Rewilding Apennines, a series of initiatives have been carried out, together with volunteers, such as camera trapping sessions to better understand the wildlife in the area, outreach events, educational activities with students, installation of informational panels, removal of abandoned barbed wire to increase connectivity and aesthetic quality of the landscape, installation of nest boxes to increase bird presence.

What has been done together so far is just a small step in putting on a spotlight an area of great natural value. We hope in the near future it can become a virtuous example of collaboration between an institution and an NGO in the name of rewilding and nature conservation for the benefit of all.

The trough near the old house in Bosco della Selva is home of several amphibians.
Nicolò Borgianni