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Extreme habitat

The term “extreme habitat” refers to those environments where life conditions are extremely difficult, mainly for plants that form the structural basis. Within the Park, those habitats consist of cliffs, screes and the so called “Alpine tundra”.

In those habitats the soil is almost absent or has just a few superficial layers left. With the exception of lower cliffs and screes, also the prohibitive climate conditions at higher altitudes are an important factor, mainly along the summit lines, where the temperatures are often below zero and winter storm winds are faster than 100 Km/h.

Those areas are a suitable environment for the Eurasian dotterel as well as the white-winged snowfinch and the European snow vole.

Plant species living in those habitats, herbaceous plants or small woody bushes with a strong “pioneer” attitude, are particularly adapted thanks to numerous morphological and/or physiological expedients, like the creeping or pulvinus bearing, the presence of powerful rooting apparatuses, the ability to absorb water from the pores of the rock, the seeds germinating only after a long vernalization period, the widespread presence of a thick down, the ability to eliminate carbonate salts through leaves concretions etc.

As a consequence, the vegetal cover is always very low and very discontinuous, so that those surfaces look “bare” at first sight.

In particular, the cliffs offer the ideal environment for the nesting of various species, from the golden eagle to the lanner falcon and the Alpine swift, while the screes are more suitable for the Apennine chamois and the rock partridge.

Competition among species is not very intense in these habitats, which is a favorable factor for the presence of numerous rare or endemic plant species, some of which live exclusively within the Park or on the Abruzzo Apennines, like the Fiori's butterwort, the Abruzzo jasmine, the Alyssum rupestre, the Maiella hawksbeard, the Maiella soldanella.

Image of high mountain in the Park
Image of chamois -  Ugni's Mountain
Image of Alpine poppy
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