Surface area (ha): 129.000
EU protection status: pSCI IT6030022 Bosco di Palo Laziale
In Italy, LIFE PRIMED focuses the area of greatest naturalistic interest within the "Bosco of Palo Laziale". This Natura 2000 site is located about 40 kilometers from the city of Rome along the coastline of the Lazio Region, in the territory of the municipality of Ladispoli. It is a flat area of about 50 hectares, with an altitude between 3 and 10 meters above sea level and about 50 meters away from the sea.
The area, consisting mostly of an oak floodplain forest (habitat 91M0), temporary ponds (habitat 3170*), high Mediterranean scrub dominated by Phillyrea angustifolia, P. latifolia. and Pistacia lentiscus and a meadow extending for about 18 hectares between the forest and the beach, is now in a state of serious decline. These communities compose habitats of crucial importance for the survival of a larger part of the animal species of Community interest living in the site. The Management Plan of the Natura 2000 site describes a general deterioration in the conservation status of both habitats and species as result of a significant regression in the surface area of the ponds and a sharp decline in the oak grove, where the ponds also reside, due to a synergic effect of different stress factors, such as those related to climate change.
The Project offers the opportunity to apply a set of management and restoration actions to halt the decline of these peculiar Mediterranean coastal ecosystems. The "Bosco di Palo" is a pilot area where the project will test the effectiveness of concrete conservation measures, including forestry and hydraulic works, to propose an integrated approach of promoting the recovery and long-term conservation of similar ecosystems in other geographical contexts.
Scientific description of project area:
According to the bioclimatic charachteristics of the area, the site is located within the Mediterranean region. During the summer, high temperatures and low precipitation give rise of a dry period and a negative water balance in the soil due to the high evapotranspiration.
Lithology shows an alternation of alluvial and deltaic sediments with different permeability. Sands and biocalcarenites of the Middle Pliocene (Macco formation), alluvial deposits and sand layers of the Pleistocene, coastal sand and polygenic pebbles reworked with volcanic elements of the Holocene are all more permeable, while the quaternary deposits consisting of clay, silt and clay of lakes and marshes, peat and cemented sand may be considered of low permeability.
The habitat types of community interest present in the area (Annex I of Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC) are the following:
- 'Pannonian-Balkanic turkey oak-sessile oak forests' (habitat 91MO) with prevalence of Turkey oak (Q. cerris), ash tree (F. ornus) and downy oak (Q. pubescens);
- 'Mediterranean temporary ponds' (habitat 3170*) formed on clay flaps for accumulation of meteoric waters;
- small portion of 'Arborescent Matorral with Laurus nobilis' (habitat 5230*).
These habitats are essential for the survival of most of the animal species of Community interest living in the site (Annex II and IV of Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC) such as Carabus alysidotus, Triturus vulgaris, Hyla italica, Elaphe longissima, Callimorpha quadripunctaria*, Elaphe quatuorlineata, Emys orbicularis, Testudo hermanni, as well as for a large number of bird species, either settled and migratory, including Porzana porzana, Luscinia svecica, Nycticorax nycticorax, Emberiza hortulana, Egretta garzetta, Alcedo atthis, Ixobrychus minutus, Emberiza hortulana, Caprimulgus europaeus, Lanius collurio listed in the Annex I of the Birds Directive 2009/147/EC. Other interesting wildlife species are: Zamenis longissimus (former Elaphe longissima), Hystrix cristata, Muscardinus avellanarius (Annex IV of Habitat Directive 92/43/EEC), Hyla intermedia (former Hyla italica) and Lissotriton vulgaris (former Triturus vulgaris) protected species under the Berne Convention. Important plant species are Centaurea pullata, Romulea columnae, and Triglochin laxiflorum.