The Alpe di Luson – the wonderful alpine paradise in South Tyrol
After the Alpe di Siusi, the Luson Ridge is the second largest plateau, with more than 2000 acres of alpine meadows and pastures. With more than 20 km of length, it is the longest alp in South Tyrol and one of the most extensive plateaus in the Alps. For centuries, during the summer the pastures are cultivated by the farmers of the valley. Cattle are grazing there, and the grass needs to be mowed in order to collect food for the harsh winter. Only by this cultivation, by clearing and grazing, by improvements through the removal of trees and rocks, the Alpe di Luson has acquired its present beauty. Man has shaped this landscape, otherwise a great part of the Alps would be pure alpine coniferous forest and many species couldn’t live here.
The Alpe di Luson – Natural paradise and lifeline
The Alpe di Luson with its wild beauty and almost untouched natural landscape is one of the most popular hiking areas in South Tyrol. However, the South Tyrolean Alps for several centuries played an important role for agriculture. The lush meadows in summer are used as pastures for sheep, goats and cows. Who feeds his cattle on which pasture is defined meticulously and has even been a bone of contention between the communities of Renon and Villandro in an “alpine conflict” which lasted over 500 years! Another way to use the lush grass of the meadows is for hay production. So-called hay meadows are mowed once a year, and the dried grass serves as food for the winter months. The gentle and environmentally friendly cultivation of the pastures is important for the landscape and the incredible biodiversity.
Agriculture on the alp Kreuzwiese
The Kreuzwiese is probably the largest mountain meadow on the Alpe di Luson. Nearly 10 acres are mowed today. In recent decades it was a little less, but in the past, says the tradition, many of today’s pastures were used for haymaking. Furthermore, the alp owns more species-rich, lush pastures from 1800 to about 2000 meters above sea level until up under the gentle summit of Monte Grava. There, our cattle and our young cows graze throughout the summer. These then provide the milk for our delicious alpine cheese.