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Census and monitoring of the Betula pendula (Roth) population in Majella National Park

In order to promote and plan safeguard actions of habitats and species, as established by the Park Plan and the Directive 43/92/CEE, in 2009 the Park Authority has started a project for the census and monitoring of the unique exemplar of Birch (Betula pendula, Roth) relict population in the Macchia Lunga Valley at Fara San Martino, growing at an altitude comprised between 1,520 and 1610 meters a.s.l.. This plant's growth site includes the priority habitats 4070* “Bushes with Pinus mugo and Rhododendron hirsutum (Mugo-Rhododendretum hirsuti)” and 9210* “Apennine beech forests with Taxus and Ilex”.

Moreover, the site is enriched by the presence of rare or non-common species: for example the black-berried honeysuckle (Lonicera nigra, L.) a shrub positioned at the limit of its distribution area, which is only signaled in that station on the central-southern Apennines; the Stone Bramble (Rubus saxatilis) and European blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), which are not very common in the entire Apennine arc; the green-flowered wintergreen (Pyrola clorantha), present - in Abruzzo - only in another station of Abruzzo National Park. The phytosociological analysis of the birches' living community highlighted a pioneer aspect of transition between the microthermal beech wood of Cardamino kitaibelii-Fagetum sylvaticae and the low-growing shrub of Pinus mugo of Orthilio secundae-Pinetum mugo.

The census of all the individuals from a strictly forestry point of view has produced a register of 65 coppiced stools on a surface of about 2 hectares, through the complete georeferencing of each one of those formations.

The aim of the project is to establish the more suitable forms for the conservation of the Birch population and of all the rare species present in the area, along with the dendroclimatological study, mainly of Beech and Mountain Pine, for the real comprehension of global change dynamics.

Image of Birches
Image of rare species
Image of "Viola magellinse"
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