This has been due to speculation, to the unrestricted pasturage of goats, to the rights which many communes have over the forests, and to some extent to excessive taxation, which led the proprietors to cut and sell the trees and then abandon the ground to the Treasury.
The search for gold and the quest for unoccupied pasturage daily diminish the extent of these areas.
In the desert tracts fine breeds of camels, cattle, horses and sheep are to be found wherever there is pasturage.
Throughout this tract the Apennines are generally covered with extensive forests of chestnut, oak and beech; while their upper slopes afford admirable pasturage.
In the agro Romano, or zone immediately around Rome, land is as a rule left for pasturage.