Mediterranean temporary ponds - habitat 3170* (Nestos and Palo Laziale)

According to the Interpretation Manual of European Union Habitats (EC 2007) and the technical report MANAGEMENT of Natura 2000 habitats
*Mediterranean temporary ponds 3170 EC 2008 07/24, the Mediterranean temporary ponds are shallow ground depressions (a few centimetres deep) formed by different geomorphological processes, principally distributed in the EU’s southern countries, especially in arid and subarid zones. They are isolated from permanent water bodies and experience periodic, seasonal cycles of inundation and drought. They have a characteristic flora and fauna that is well adapted to this alternation of water, for at least 8-9 months, and its absence, for at least 2-3 months. The flora is mainly composed of Mediterranean therophytes and geophytes, especially aquatic ferns (Isoetes). In general, the totality of these species is characterised by a short life cycle allowing them to produce seeds during the short favourable season. The ponds host rare and threatened species such as crustaceans like the Triops sp., which are present due to the absence of predation in form of fish or crabs.

In Greece, the majority of 3170* sites occurs in 33 Natura 2000 sites, 24 in the Aegean islands and Crete and is associated with phrygana, and only 9 on the mainland. The ones at high altitude are associated with montane grasslands. Very few have Excellent or Good conservation ststus; most are classified as Unfavourable. Apart of the SCI of Nestos, there are only two other sites in western Peloponnese (GR2320001 and GR2330006) where 3170* is associated with forest, however, in those cases it is Pinus pinea conifer forest.

In Italy, they are present in 13 regions (Li, ER, Tu, Um, La, Ab, Mo, Ca, Pu, Ba, Ca, Si, Sa) on a total surface of 38,26 km2 (3.800 ha), of which 70% are located in the Med Region, with a conservation status which is classified as U1 (ISPRA Reports 194/2014). In Lazio, the ponds are present in 14 Natura 2000 sites, including Circeo NP, Estate of Castelporziano, and Bosco di Foglino. 

The features of the temporary ponds vary according to the seasonal and environmental conditions.

In Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, the habitat is ecologically interconnected with the riparian deciduous woodland, a very rare, occurrence in Greece. In the SCI of Nestos there are two groups of four temporary ponds, one for each bank of the Nestos river, closely associated with the riparian forest, with a total area of 0,05 ha. This habitat includes, among others, the flora species Mentha pulegium, Lythrum spp., L. salicaria, M. arvensis, C. flavensvens, C. fuscus, F. bisumbellata, P. intermedia, P. oleracea, J. articulates. In the Lazio Region, along the coast of the Thyrrenean Sea, they are frequently in strong spatial and ecological dependency with floodplain oak woodlands. In Palo Laziale, this system assumes a peculiar environment formed upon impermeable clay layers and nurtured by meteoric waters and superficial flows, isolated from the groundwater.

Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae) - habitat 91E0* (Nestos)

Alluvial forest occurs in SCI GR1150010 along both sides of the Nestos river, growing on and between the embankments, and covers a total area of 300 ha. The dominant tree species are Fraxinus excelsior and A. glutinosa, but also F. angustifolia, S. alba, P. alba, P. nigra, J. regia, C. sanguinea, Q. robur subsp. pedunculiflora and U. minor subsp. canescens occur. They grow on heavy alluvial soils and the lower-lying areas are periodically inundated by the rise of the river. There is a profusion of climbing plants (P. graeca, and others) and the herbaceous layer invariably includes many species (A.podagraria, M. aquatica, H. helix, L. punctata, P. hybridus, Silene baccifera, C. lutetiana, A. maculatum and others).

Arborescent matorral with Laurus nobilis - habitat 5230* (Palo Laziale)

Woodland and high maquis in which Laurus nobilis, both on tree and shrub form, dominates the upper layer of the cenosys. They quite often represent communities of restricted extension: in fact, the Laurel becomes dominant only in places where particular topographic and edaphic characteristics mitigate both the estival aridity and the winter frosts, thus allowing this species to become competitive both to the evergreen sclerophyll and to the deciduous trees. In Italy they are present in 9 Regions (Tu, Ma, La, Ab, Ba, Pu, Ca, Si, Sa) on a total surface of 6,69 km2 (669 ha), of which 98% are located in the Mediterranean Region, with a conservation status that is classified as U1 and a “worsening” trend (ISPRA R.194/2014).

Pannonian-Balkanic turkey oak-sessile oak forests - habitat 91M0 (Palo Laziale)

Thermo-xerophile Q. cerris, Q. petraea or Q. frainetto and related deciduous oaks of the central and southern sectors of the Italian peninsula, with a prevalent distribution among the internal and subcoastal territories of the Thyrrenean coast side. In Italy, 91M0 is present in 10 Regions (Li, Tu, Um, La, Mo, Ca, Pu, Ba, Ca, Si) on a total surface of 6.096,75 km2 (60.9675 ha), of which 87% are located in the Mediterranean Region (5.304 km2), with a conservation status that is classified as U1 (ISPRA R. 194/2014). In Lazio, this type of wood is present in the Circeo NP (IT6040014-IT6040014) and in Castelporziano Reserve (IT6030028-IT6030084). They are typical habitats of the E. hermanni and E. orbicularis. In the Mediterranean Region, these habitats have been particularly damaged by climate change, especially during the past years through an increase of aridity caused by strong reduction of precipitation and temperature rise in summer. 

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