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Riserva Naturale Integrale Lastoni Selva Pezzi

 

Protected Area

Identity Card

  • Land Surface Area: 967.61 ha
  • Regions: Veneto
  • Provinces: Verona
  • Municipalities: Malcesine
  • Establishment Measures: D.M. 26/07/1971
  • PA Official List: EUAP0152

 

 

Environmental Aspects

Main environmental typologies: presence of woods with beech trees and silver firs, of large Mountain Pine woods, of environments with herbaceous vegetation growing above the limit of the wood, of cliffs and screes.
Floristic-vegetational peculiarities: beech tree woods (Xeric Soil Mountain Beech Tree Wood, Typical Dentaria Mountain Beech Tree Wood, primitive detritus layer), carbonate soil fir forest, Mountain Pine woods, spikenard and moor grass grasslands, Dwarf Junipers pioneer vegetation, cliff and scree vegetation; presence of floristic aspects (stenomediterranean elements, orophyte, endemic and subendemic elements, species signaled as rare and/or very rare in the Italian flora, plants included in the list of the protected species in the Veneto region).

Photo by Environmental Aspects
 

Flora

Lastoni-Selva Pezzi Reserve represents one of the most interesting botanic areas of Mt. Baldo.

Mesophytic Wood Vegetation

Xeric Soil Mountain Beech Tree Wood

This rather rare typology of beech tree wood is signaled in the surroundings of the location Piombi; it prefers soils with an abundant skeleton, both of alluvial origin and landslide deposits, rarely semi-rupestrian situations. The formation is mainly made by a reforestation dominated by larch, with the presence of scattered and rather scrubby beech tree nuclei. The beech tree must be considered as a potential situation, which could expand in the future if accompanied by the progressive reduction of the conifers. The undergrowth is very thick.

Typical Dentaria Mountain Beech Tree Wood
The typical mountain beech tree wood covers a strip going from 1100 to 1300 - 1400 meters, and it gradually gives way to the overlooking fir forests. These aspects can be found in the stretch of forest between Pozza del Pezzon and Piombi. The beech tree, which should be the dominating tree, often cannot show this kind of trend for the elevated frequency of the silver and spruce firs which have been widespread through reforestation measures. Other broadleaved trees are rare: European Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia), Whitebeam (Sorbus aria). The shrubby stratum is made by Lonicera alpigena, red raspberry (Rubus idaeus), Alpine golden chain (Laburnum alpinum) and other species; the thin herbaceous stratus is made of species typically growing in the beech tree wood. It is necessary to notice that, in some situations, the silver fir takes part in the cenosis with good coverings, enabling the recognition of a probably original variation with silver fir.

Primitive Detritus Layer Beech Tree Wood
They are mainly shrubby formations in contact with Mountain Pine woods having several elements in common with them. They can be mainly found in the area of the "pale" colonizing the less mobile detritus and the ribs in a stage following the Mountain Pine woods. Sometimes the formation can be found in semi-rupestrian habitats. The arboreal strata is almost absent and represented by rare beech trees elevating above the shrubs; the maximum height of these specimens does not go beyond the 4-6 meters. The upper-shrubby strata is thick and dominated by beech tree mixed with Mountain pine, which can be considered a guide species.

Reforestation with Widespread Presence of Larch
Within Selva Pezzi, in the period between the 50s and the 60s, several reforestation measures have been carried out by planting Norway spruce, silver fir, and larch. While the Norway spruces and the silver firs are growing in harmony with the natural vegetation of the fir forests, the larch nuclei clearly stand out from them. The surface interested by the larch is rather widespread and scattered in different areas of the forest.

Photo by FloraPhoto by Flora
 

Shrub Vegetation of the Lower Alpine Horizon (Mountain Pine woods)

The landscape of a large area of the reserve is strongly characterized by impenetrable Mountain Pine woods covering some square kilometers of surface. The Mountain Pine woods cover rupestrian stations and gullies from 1,500-1,600 meters up to the highest peaks.

Carbonate Substrata Mountain Pine woods Characterized by Hairy Alpine Rose
Carbonate substrata Mountain Pine woods characterized by Hairy Alpine Rose are the most frequently found on Mt. Baldo. Because of the great altitude range (from more than 2,000 meters up to about 1,000 meters), these formations present a complex ecological articulation.
Above the 1,600-1,700 meters in the shrubby stratum of the Mountain Pine woods you can frequently find Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus), Dwarf Juniper (Juniperus nana), Hairy Alpine Rose (Rhododendron hirsutum), Salix glabra, Heather (Erica carnea) and, among the herbs, Horminum pyrenaicum, Valeriana tripteris, Luzula nivea, Viola biflora, Stachys alopecurus, etc.
While at higher altitudes the microthermal Mountain Pine woods can be found together with the herbaceous cenosis typical of the high mountain, at lower altitudes (under the 1,700m) they gradually shade into more thermophilic Mountain Pine formations gaining ground at 1,500-1,600 meters of height, near the border of the reserve. They are characterized by the presence of shrub species like the Dwarf Garden Serviceberry (Amelanchier ovalis) and the Rhodothamnus chamaecistus, indicators of primitive and warm environments, and of herbaceous species among which the Erica herbacea, together with Euphrasia tricuspidata, Calamagrostis varia and Globularia cordifolia. The passage between the two kinds of Mountain Pine woods is very soft and takes place in a rupestrian environment which is difficult to penetrate.

Acidic Substrata Mountain Pine Woods Characterized by Alpenrose
The acidophilic microthermal Mountain Pine woods represent the most ripen section of the Mountain Pine woods, above all on watershed positions; they often derive from the growth of bushes in the grazing lands characterized by Nardus striata. You can find them in particular along the ridge going from Tratto Spino in the direction of Cima delle Pozzette. In this area the Mountain Pine wood develops along a strip delimiting the upper section of Selva Pezzi. The trend of soil acidification is highlighted by the presence of species like the Rhododendron ferrugineum, Vaccinium myrtillus, Vacciunium vitis-idaea, Potentilla erecta, and sometimes Alnus viridis (Green Alder).
Bilberries and rhododendron, if present in great quantities, can be considered guide species.

Gentian
Gentian
Peony
Peony
 

Graminacea Formations Vegetation

Spikenard Grasslands
They are poor grazing lands on acid reaction and decalcified soils, generally deriving from the natural transformation of the Festuca grasslands which have been subject for a long time to an excessive grazing activity. They are situated in the northern part of the reserve, in the first stretch of the ridge going upwards to Cima delle Pozzette, at altitudes between the 1700 and the 1800 meters.
The turf is very homogeneous, with a considerable floristic richness: it is characterized by the massive presence of the spikenard (Nardus striata), together with the typical acidophilic species of the Spikenard Grasslands: Arnica montana, Gentiana kochiana, Luzula multiflora, Danthonia decumbens, Hieracium pilosella, Potentilla erecta, etc. Scarce, if not occasional, are the species of the fertile grasslands.

Moor Grass Grasslands
This herbaceous association is typical of the steep surfaces where the soil very rich in detritus begins to set. The characteristic aspect is the one of the so-called "ladder meadows", where short rocky outcrops alternate with flat sods where the herbaceous formations of Sesleria varia and Carex sempervirens grow together with a great variety of other species. The most frequent elements of the association, besides the two above-mentioned species, are: Horminum pyrenaicum, Nigritella nigra, Achillea clavenae, Leontopodium alpinum, Bupleurum ranuncoloides, Hieracium villosum, Senecio doronicum and Carex baldensis.
In some areas of Mt. Baldo, in particular in the summits, the moor grass grassland gets enriched with other floristic elements involved in the association with a considerable presence, in particular Ranunculus alpestris, Salix reticulata, Carex firma, Carex ferruginea and Rhodothamnus chamaecistus.
In this association we signal the presence of Callianthemum kerneranum, the most typical endemic species of Mt. Baldo.

 

Nival Ground Vegetation on Calcareous Rocks

Salix retusa and Salix reticulata Pioneer Vegetation
It is situated at the bottom of the glacial cirques aligned at the foot of the main summits of Baldo, where there is a particular vegetation characterized by Arctic-Alpine floristic elements. In these basins the snow remains for several months, and in the years with particular abundant precipitation, it remains until late summer. In these environments you can find the so-called nival valley vegetation consisting of species which are adequate to live in conditions of scarce lighting (given by the persistence of the snow covering), low temperatures, and above all to live in the short period of time during which the ground is no longer covered with snow.
Among the characteristic species of the nival valleys we remind first of all the dwarf willows living close to the ground: Salix retusa and Salix reticulata. Saxifraga androsacea, Galium baldense, Carex parviflora, Ranunculus alpestris are also common.

 

Lithophilous Vegetation

Pioneer Vegetation on Screes
The heaps of debris consisting of incoherent coarse detritus and continuously fed by the stones falling from the overhanging cliffs, which can be mainly found in the glacial cirques at the foot of the main summits of the Baldo chain, are colonized by a vegetation made of species like Papaver rhaeticum, Cerastium carinthiacum, Saxifraga sedoides, Achillea oxyloba. Other species covering a considerable surface are: Thlaspi rotundifolium, Rumex scutatus and Doronicum grandiflorum.
This vegetal formation (called Papaveretum rhaetici) can be mainly found on the slopes exposed to the north, at altitudes beyond the 1800 meters.

Cliff Vegetation
It can be found on rocky outcrops which are very abundant in the rupestrian environment of the ridge: it consists by an extremely specialized consortium of Potentilla nitida, Festuca alpina and Physoplexis comosa and a few other plants, called chasmophytes. Among these, the ones which can be more frequently found during the surveys are Carex mucronata, Paederota buonarota, Valeriana saxatilis, Asplenium viride, Athamanta cretensis, Helianthemum alpestre and Campanula cochlearifolia. The association to which this kind of vegetation can be traced back is called Potentilletum nitidae, and is typical of the southern calcareous Alps.
On the rocky walls delimiting the valleys developing from glacial cirques, at altitudes between the 1500 and 1900 meters, there is another combination of species characterized by the Potentilla caulescens. Among the species growing with it, the main ones are Asplenium ruta-muraria, Cystopteris fragilis, Festuca alpina, Carex mucronata, Globularia cordifolia, Draba aizoides, Silene saxifraga, Rhamnus pumila, Daphne alpina.

 

Floristic Aspects

Within the Reserve there are several interesting species, among which Arctic-Alpine Elements, that is species whose distribution area extends to the arctic zones and on the mountains of the boreal temperate areas. On the alpine chain they have a relict distribution area divided from the main distribution area of the species after the melting of the ice during the last glaciation. They are species living in the alpine grazing lands, above at the climatic limit of the trees, or in alpine marshes, along the windy ridges, in the nival valleys, or again on the alpine screes and are for example: Juniperus nana, Salix reticulata, Salix erbacea, Thesium alpinum, Polygonum viviparum, Silene acaulis, Clematis alpina, Trollius europaeus, Saxifraga paniculata, Potentilla crantzii, Alchemilla alpina, Dryas octopetale, Sibbaldia procumbens, Arctostaphylos alpinus, Bartsia alpina, Pedicularis verticillata, Pinguicola alpina, Lonicera cerulea, Chamaeorchis alpina.
Within the Reserve, we can find endemic and subendemic elements, that is elements present in a more or less limited or localized distribution area: Callianthemum kerneranum; Corydalis lutea, Saxifraga tombeanensis, Primula spectabils, Galium baldense, Euphrasia tricuspidata, Knautia baldensis and Physoplexis comosa.

Photo by Floristic Aspects
 

Fauna

Birds

The birds are without a doubt one of the faunistic aspects which can be more easily observed, both considering the present species and their behavior habits. Within the surveys which have been carried out, 78 species have been found, 48 of which are nesting species. The number of birds varies according to the altitude and the habitat features. According to some evaluations, the territory of the reserve has been divided into areas of different value; the most interesting areas include the highest sections of the environments interested by the presence of articulated and various forest formations. In these sections, the number and the frequency of nesting or occasional species, is higher than in the other areas of the reserve.
The avifauna includes several important species. Among the diurnal birds of prey: the Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), which has reproduced in the mixed woods of Selva Pezzi (De Franceschi, 1991) and which is also frequently signaled in autumn during the migrations (ex. loc. Guarda) and the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), nesting quite regularly with some couples on the mountains of the Verona area. While it was once very rare in the Prealps, currently the golden eagle is increasing, and observations witness an expansion in this area.
Another very interesting bird of prey which is considered accidental is the Red Kite (Milvus milvus), which has been signaled more than once in flight in Valdritta in autumn (M. Zanetti, com. pres.), at Passo del Camin (S. Rossin, com. pers.) and in other adjacent locations.
A Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) has also been sighted at Cima di Valdritta.
The Red-footed Falcon is also interesting (Falco vespertinus): during the spring this small bird of prey has been sighted more than once in an isolated flight or in small groups on the ridges in Cima Pozzette and in the grazing lands above Colma di Malcesine and, in autumn, in Pra Alpesina. Always among the birds of prey, it is necessary to remind the rare sights of the Peregrine (Falco peregrinus). The Galliformes deserve a particular attention: they are represented here by the Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia), the Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus), the Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix), the Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), and the Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca).
Of considerable interest the presence of the Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), the Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) and the Alpine Swift (Apus melba).
There are several nocturnal birds of prey: the Tengmalm's Owl (Aegolius funereus), considered accidental in the last century, has been reproducing since some decades with considerable success by using the cavities dug by the black woodpecker (a species which is expanding in the area of Verona) and also the artificial nests which are available in some adequate mixed woods.
The presence of the Eurasian Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium passerinum) is accidental, even if this small nocturnal bird of prey is probably nesting in the Verona area. Among the other species, it is necessary to mention the nesting Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo), the Tawny Olw (Strix aluco), the Long-Eared Owl (Asio otus), and the Little Owl (Athene noctua).
The Woodpeckers include very interesting species from an ecological point of view: the Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), the Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis), the Great Spotted Woodpecker (Picoides major), which is without a doubt the most common Picid and whose presence is evident because of its noisy and frequent spring drumming and of its characteristic singing.
As far as the Passerines are concerned, the species are numerous; among the others, we recall the Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris) nesting among the rocks; the Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris) living in the high mountains, the Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus), a species reproducing on the lower branches of trees and shrubs at the edges of grazing lands and which is rather frequent in all the upper strip of the chain of Mt. Baldo; late in the autumn it leaves from this areas, migrating towards more favorable environments. The Ring Ouzel will go back to the reproduction area in spring, after stopping during its journey also in the wetlands of Bassa Veronese.
Another Passerine present in the area is the Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca) populating during the reproduction period the area of the twisted shrubs; it is a very interesting and elusive small migratory bird betraying its presence thanks to its intense and prolonged territorial singing. Among the Paridae, the Willow Tit (Parus montanus) and the Crested Tit (Parus cristatus) can be easily recognized for their characteristic bird song. During the high-mountain traverses along the ridge path it is relatively easy to meet in June the Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria), maybe when it is returning to the nest to bring food to its chicks. This wonderful bird is also called "rock butterfly" for the characteristic wing fluttering when it moves on the overhanging walls.
Among the Corvids, the Alpine Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus) is relatively common on Mt. Baldo: winter flights of some hundreds of specimens can be frequently seen, but also in spring you can sight the territorial couples overlooking both slopes of Mt. Baldo chain.
The Snow Finch (Montifringilla nivalis), an unusual species on Mt. Baldo, reproduces rather regularly at the highest altitudes in the area of the ridges, and it is beautiful to observe some of them looking for food among the rocky detritus at the foot of a wall: as a matter of fact, during its moves you can see an unmistakable alternation of white and dark flashes accompanying the fast wing movement. The Redpoll (Carduelis flammea), the Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), and the Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) form another group of birds with a medium-high specific value. Among the Emberizidae it is worth mentioning the Rock Bunting (Emberiza cia), typical of the mountain grazing lands with discontinuous grass invaded by sparse shrub vegetation.

Photo by Fauna
 

Mammals

The mammal species present in the reserve, or at least the species we know to live in it, are rather numerous. Among the most easily recognizable there is the mole (Talpa europaea), of which you can often observe the traces of its activity. Remaining among the insectivorous animals, besides the ubiquitous Common Shrew (Sorex araneus), there are species which are more strictly linked to particular habitats: the Alpine Shrew (Sorex alpinus), living in environments characterized by areas with piles of stones, and the Eurasian Water Shrew (Neomys fodiens), linked to water.
Among the chiropters (bats) there are the Greater Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), the Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros), the Myotis cappacinii and the Kuhl's pipistrelle (Pipistrellus kuhli).
Among the rodents, the presence of the Marmot (Marmota marmota) which has been introduced by man is very interesting; moreover, there are the Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), the Snow Vole (Microtus nivalis), the Alpine Pine Vole (Microtus multiplex), the Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris), the Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) and the Yellow-necked Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis).
The Common Hare (Lepus europaeus) can be a prey of carnivorous animals, among which the Fox (Vulpes vulpes), the Badger (Meles meles), the Marten (Martes martes), the Stone Marten (Martes foina), and the Weasel (Mustela nivalis).
The presence of the Lynx (Lynx lynx) has been signaled by G. Grandini from Malcesine: he could sight a wonderful lynx specimen in the undergrowth, under the ridges of Navene, in the afternoon of 17th September 1994. Afterwards, observations of traces and signs witnessing the presence of this felid have been carried out.
Among the ungulates there are the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and the deer (Cervus elaphus), in the clearings within the woods on both the slopes of Mt. Baldo, until the bottom of the valley. The chamois is also important (Rupicapra rupicapra), since it has been object of a successful reintroduction measure.

Chamois
Chamois
Roe deer
Roe deer
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