Wild ancient forests where the trees touch the sky
Our partners from Foreste Casentinesi NP, Italy confirmed interest to become a member of the European Wilderness Network. Today they proudly present their wilderness area:
In central Italy, on the Apennines’ mountains between Tuscany and Romagna, Florence and the Adriatic coast, there is an amazing spot of biodiversity protected by the Foreste Casentinesi National Park (from 1993), with a huge amount of rare fauna and flora species: centuries-old white spruce and beech forests which contain also hermitages and sanctuaries, an incredible net of water sources, streams and falls, and the signs of an historical abandoned rural culture and society, counting just few human inhabitants today.
The Park has the highest national forestry coverage (more than 80%), and its ancient beech forests have just applied inside the UNESCO “tentative list” for becoming a World Heritage Site. Its bio- and zoo-cenosis could be considered almost complete, with a very well defined ecosystem balance from the most important predators (wolves, eagles) to their most common preys (ungulates and rodents), very close to wilderness parameters, and very autonomous from human intervention in indemnifying damages. In the recent time black woodpecker, wildcat and pine-marten has been detected, whereas in the past time (first decades of XVIII century) also the brown bear was present.Wilderness in Foreste Casentinesi NP, Italy (photo: Mr. Andrea Gambassini)
In the middle hearth of the protected area it grows, in all its wild beauty, the first Italian Integral Nature Reserve of Sasso Fratino: 764 hectares of wilderness closed to visitors since 1959, dominated by beech trees in its highest part, mingled with other broad-leaved trees as well as big holly trees and old yews below the altitude of 1200. The value of this reserve lies not only in the enormous wealth of species, but also in the wood structure itself: new-born, adolescent, old, sick and dead trees coexist in this area where everything is left as it is, and man for once has restricted himself to look and learn.
The whole National Park territory is affected by the return of the environment to a more natural state and extension, an important factor that leads to the restoring of biological independence and resistance, the increasing of available spaces for wild animals, and the creation of wild-life corridors for those species which needs to be preserved. The recent re-colonization of the wolves throughout Northern Apennines and – further, more recently – on the Alps, started exactly from these mountains and forests in the last 1970’s years.
Mattia Speranza – Foreste Casentinesi NP collaborator
with the contribution of:
Giorgio Boscagli – Foreste Casentinesi NP Director, Biologist, Wildlife Manager
Giuseppe Paris – President of “Friends of PNFC” Association