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Forests in Sabina

Part of the town of  Roccantica

Sabini Mts. are about 60 km from Rome. If you leave the olive groves and start to walk up the mountain near the cute town of Roccantica one of your possibilities is to head Monte Pizzuto. It’s a walk across evergreen oak (Quercus ilex) forests so spread in this region and usually managed as coppices.

Elm oak coppice

Anyway, going up you will cross also deciduous oaks stands (Quercus pubescens s.l.) on the sunny slopes and maples (Acer obtusatum) in the patches where morphology allows for more mesic species to occur. The beech forest start rather abruptly while you keep walking up.

Hepatica nobilis,  one of the earliet flowers of beech forests

Hepatica  nobilis,  one of the earliet flowers of beech forests

Elm oak is very competitive on cliffs insomuch as even at altitudes where beech dominates, on the cliffs elm oak is the only species occurring. Its preference for shallow soils makes rather likely that also at lower altitudes the occurrence of elm oaks rather than of deciduous oaks may be related to past human activities that caused soil erosion. Maybe if these forests won’t be managed anymore deciduous oaks would gradually become more and more frequent in them to the detritent of elm oak forests.

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