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Zona di Salvaguardia dei Boschi e delle Rocche del Roero

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Protected Area

Identity Card

  • Land Surface Area (ha): 1.818,96
  • Regions: Piemonte
  • Provinces: Cuneo
  • Municipalities: Baldissero d'Alba, Bra, Pocapaglia, Sanfr√®, Sommariva del Bosco, Sommariva Perno
  • Establishment Measures: L.R. n. 43 18/10/2003
  • PA Official List: EUAP0541

 

 

The Safeguard Area

The Safeguard Area includes a quality section of Roero area and extends in a thick succession of rocks and steep valleys between 247 and 436m above sea level. Roero landscape is varied and characterized by a succession of cultivated fields and woods, by strong colors changing according to the season, by more relevant altimetric contrasts than those existing in the areas of Astigiano, upper Monferrato, Colline del Po, and Langhe.

Vegetation

Even if most of Roero area is covered with agricultural fields, its woodland heritage is one of the richest in Monferrato; at the bottom of the valleys, in the wettest areas, there are formations that can be traced back to the Alliance Alno-Ulmion. In drier areas there are woods consisting of Common Oak, White Hornbeam with Littleleaf Linden, Wild Cherry, and Common Ash which can be traced back to the Alliance Carpinion: they are residual mesophile plain woods within the list of the Habitats of Community Interest of Directive 92/43/CEE. Sometimes in the ravines it is possible to find more sciophilous and less continental formations characterized by the presence of the beech tree. In the mountains, woods referring to Quercetalia-robori-petraeae grow, where the Sessile Oak dominates; in the driest areas, Scots pine, Turkey oak, and Downy Oak appear; some sub-Mediterranean species can also be found in these woods (Wild Service tree, Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Wayfaring tree). The forms of degradation of these oak woods and of re-invasion of abandoned vineyards consist of moorlands with Bracken Fern and Bent Grass. Together with Bent Grass, it is usual to find Gladiolus palustris, a rare and protected species. In the talwegs and as an invasive form on fertile soils, the Black Locust tree grows: it was used in the past to produce poles for the vineyards.
The presence of caper bush and of other Mediterranean essences is of particular importance: Chrithmum maritimum, Centranthus ruber, Opuntia compressa, Anthirrimum. The presence of the Mezereon is rare and interesting. We must also mention the ancient diffusion of the olive tree, which has nowadays almost disappeared, and the presence of the Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris), the Marsh Gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe), and the Pussytoes (Antennaria dioica). Also the Scots Pine was much more widespread in the past, forming real woods; afterwards, given its exploitation for the production of timber and brick-yards, it has been reduced. Of great importance ponds, fish pools, and marshes mainly deriving from artificial basins created in past centuries near the farmsteads for irrigation purposes. Besides housing an interesting aquatic and hygrophilous vegetation, these environments are important for their fauna, in particular for rare chiropters.
30 species found in Roero territory are subject to total protection, according to the Regional Law 32/82.

Fauna

As far as birds are concerned, the area is characterized by the presence of the Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) during migrations, while in the woodlands the European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) and the Black Kite (Milvus migrans) nest. Agricultural areas are characterized by the presence of the Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) linked to warm and dry environments, the Lesser Grey Shrike (Larius minor) and the Woodchat Shrike (Larius senator) which is disappearing in Piedmont for the use of chemical substances in agriculture, the Ortolan Bunting (Emberizza hortulana) whose number has been considerably reduced all over Europe for the same reason, the Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus), the Woodlark (Lullula arborea), and the Partridge (Perdix perdix italica). The latter has disappeared from most of the cultivated plain and has a discontinuous distribution.
In the wetlands we must mention two bird species within the list of species of Community Interest that can be found in Directive 92/43/CEE: the Little Bittern (Ixobrichus minutus) and the Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis).
Two reptile species living in the area require a strict protection: the Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis) and Western Whip Snake (Coluber viridiflavus). The Green Lizard eats insects, and is therefore threatened by the use of pesticides and herbicides, as well as by the reduction of hedges and rows and by the use of compact materials for wall building. The Western Whip Snake suffers not only from the reduction of hedges and rows, but also from the diffusion of asphalt roads which, favoring termoregulation, are very busy: they have therefore higher probabilities of being swept away by motor vehicles.
Among the most interesting insects: Lucanus cervus and Cerambix cerdo within the list of species of Community Interest that can be found in the Directive 92/43/CEE (HABITAT).

Geology

The line of the Rocche marks the current limit of the great regressive erosion phenomenon developed after the seizure of Tanaro. Erosion has dug deep valleys and has brought to the formation of the light grey-blue marls dating back to the Tortonian period (15 million years ago), from which not very high and gentle morphologies and gypsum banks of the Miocene. The Piacenzan grey-blue marls rich in marine fossils (Argille di Lugagnano) date back to the Pliocene and form the impermeable bottom of the valleys in the southern area of Roero, as well as the Astian yellow sands; the Villafranchian marly-gravelly-pebbly deposits cover large areas of the plateau; the loes, with its bright red color, also belongs to the same formations and is common on the plateau.

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