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Shrublands

Shrublands are plant formations with prevalence of wood species that have branches departing from the base of the trunk. Those have a great ecologic importance, as they are the main responsible for the dynamic reconstitution process of the original wood cover on territories abandoned by agricultural and pastoral activities. That phenomenon, whit numerous examples visible in the Park's territory as well as in the entire Apennines, is named “ecological succession”.

In the Park there are primary shrublands - above the woods' superior altitude limit - and secondary shrublands that evolve very slowly towards forest formations.

Among the primary shrublands we should remember the rare and important mountain pine woods, covering a great part of the subalpine zone of the Maiella massif, and the creeping formations of Juniperus procumbens (nana juniper) and/or pinemat manzanita. Those environments are inhabited by a various avifauna, with very rare species localized also on the rest of the Apennines, like the ring ouzel or the red crossbill, but also the rock partridge and the rare Vipera ursinii find shelter in those areas.

Among  the secondary shrublands there are shrub belts surrounding the wood and scattered shrubs. The most represented species are Cytisus spp., the common Broom, the Coronilla emerus, the prickly juniper, the common hawthorn, the dog rose, the blackthorn, the common dogwood, the Jerusalem thorn, the honeysuckle and, in the mountain belt, the Alpine Italian buckthorn, the ribes, the Cotoneaster, the common juniper and the European raspberry. Many of these shrubs are a fundamental food resource for species like the Marsican brown bear, but also for many birds surviving - mainly during the winter – thanks to the fruits of those plants. It is peculiar, in the Peligna Valley, the relatively widespread presence of box, a rather rare species in this region.

Box shrubs have been often conserved by man as hedges at the fields' margins, due to their versatility, providing shelter for insectivore birds and predator insects, creating windproof barriers, etc.

Image of Daphne sericea
Image of common juniper
Image of mountain pine woods - Monte Cavallo
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