The vegetation consists of a pine forest of Pinus nigra ssp. Calabrica (Pine larch tree), associated with Hypochoerido-Pinetum calabricae Bonin 1978 del Doronico – Fagion.
We are dealing with communities related to the abundance of granitic substrates and acidic and sandy soils, rich of stones on which the pine species , quite frugal and xerophile have an advantage respect to beech. The floristic pinewood is characterized by: Hypochoeris laevigata, Teucrium siculum, Lathyrus gliciphyllos ( types of green plants ), Pteridium aquilinum (Eagle Fern).
Even the portion of venerable pine forest is of artificial origin and all around its about, it is noticed the presence of thriving beeches that tend to form a continuous layer beneath the tops of the pine trees. Most of the site is affected by recent reforestation with poor coverage of the herbaceous layer .
In its perimeter, it also includes a small portion of forest riparian vegetation of black alder (Alnus glutinosa) and black poplar (Populus nigra). The surrounding area is affected by crops and pasture.
On the basis of the situation verified on the ground, emerges that the predominant type that forms this pure pine forest , is the pine larch trees (pinus laricio Poiret), that covers 79% of the surface, while beech (Fagus silvatica L.) and aspen (Populus tremula L.) cover only 7% of the area. Part of the site is represented by areas without any forest cover, in part subject to pasture in the summer. Sporadically, are also present trees of mountain maple (Acer pseudoplantus L.) and cherry (Prunus avium L).
Forest of Larch Pines
This type of forest forms the distinctive element of the protected area so that it can be considered one of the most important protected areas, for as it contains the most significant group of century trees of pine larch trees. Although it’s a forest of a small, modest area (just 5.16.60 hectares), within its area it’s possible to distinguish four different developmental stages.
Constitutes, by far, the most characteristic and important element of the SCI ( Sites of Community Importance), but also of the entire Sila.
It consists of about 60 larch pine trees, with ages ranging from 350 to 400 years old, with a diameter up to 2 m. and heights of over 43 meters. Beyond the size of these trees, this site is of great importance because, since on a limited surface area, we find a large number of trees of exceptional size.
The pine forest held an important protective function of the nearby homes and offered shelter for the livestock. Its origin is presumably anthropic, while its preservation in time is certainly linked to human action.
All the subjects have characteristics of accentuated age and some plants evidence signs of obvious decay. Therefore, we can expect that in the future, some of these trees may collapse under atmospherical actions.
Inside the venerable pine forest, a light herbaceous layer has grown with some plants of dog-rose, while juvenile larch pine trees and other species are absent.
Adult Pinewood (Pine Grove)
It’s a population of pines that range of about 70/80 years of age, adjacent to the ancient forest.
It occupies a surface area gently sloped towards north.
The density is rather homogenous and appropriate to the age of the vegetation.
Some years ago, as a result to heavy snowfalls, many plants collapsed, without causing interruptions of the coverage of the woods. The slender trunks, obviously, without evident malformation, have a containable leafy presence fairly regular and gathered together mainly quite high. Along the trunk are present stumps of dead branches. There is no evidence of attacks of pathogenic in general or attacks of insects.
The undergrowth is represented by a herbaceous vegetation with a prevalence of grasses that tend to form a sufficiently continuous carpet on the ground. Occasionally, are also present : shrubs, dog-roses and hawthorns.
It’s a young population of natural origins of about 30-35 years of age, quite thick, even though a few years ago has suffered damages from heavy snowfalls. The plants that crashed down were taken away in order to avoid insect attacks.
The plants that remained standing, present tenderly slanted trunks and have a very containable, gathered leafy presence a t the top. Along the trunks, many dead branches are present.
The density of population prevents the settlement and the growth of the underground and therefore, determines a slight accumulation of under-composed litter on the ground.
Even this typology of structure is not much present within the SCI, but are an example of the dynamics that regulate the settlement of the pine forest on bare areas of limited width, caused by the meteorological events.
These plants are about 20 years old. The density is high and causes phenomena of competition, which is proved by the presence of spun plants, with a very reduced leafy-green presence and limited in a few branches found at the terminal part of the trunk.
Despite the competition, the vegetative growth remains always high.
Within these groups, any form of undergrowth is absent and a slight accumulation of decomposed litter is noticed.
Mixed beech forest – Aspen
Covers a very modest area and is the result of the downfall or the use of certain plants of larch pine trees (certainly smaller in size and of age of the century trees) with a result in a reduced level of coverage that has favored the settlement and affirmation of juvenile beech. This species has found optimal conditions and therefore presents highly supportable growth. On the soil, due to its use, especially in the margin areas, we also find Aspen trees.
Glade, Pastures and Tilled
It mainly consists of zones destined in the past for the cultivation of crops. They are sporadically cultivated and at the moment, lie fallow. They are frequently used for pasture during the summer. In some cases, if the phase of abandonment is extended in time, they are colonized by the larch pine trees.