General description of project area


Name of the project area: Località Gesso

Surface area (ha): 17.950

EU protection status SPA: –

EU protection status SCI: NATURA 2000 Code IT4070011

Other protection status according to national or regional legislation: Natural Regional Park

The main uses of the project site: The main land uses: Nature Conservation 30%, forestry 35%, agriculture 35%

The ownership status: Private property 100%

Scientific description of project area



The site contains the last western part of the most important outcrop of Messinian gypsum in Europe.
The layers of the so-called Gypsum Vein, inclined towards the plain, cause precipitous cliffs facing south and with interesting Mediterranean character (Pyracantha coccynea, Helianthemum appenninum, Fumana procumbens), contrasting with the more moderate slopes facing north, wooded, with fresh stations and rich in floristic elements typical of the high Apennines (Laburnum anagyroides).
The area has a very diverse flora with Mediterranean and Central European elements, as well as an interesting fauna. Woods and thickets mesophilic and xerophilous dominated by Quercus pubescens (91AA*), moist ravines with mesophilic flora, alternating with shrubs and grasslands, ex-cultivated land, scrubland and rocks colonized by ferns and therophytes, wide xeric meadows with orchids (6210*), in natural evolution to the Q. pubescens forests (91AA*). Agricultural crops are rare in the area, more common on the surrounding area. The area is inside the natural regional park Vena del Gesso Romagnola.
Two habitats are protected by the annex I of the 92/43/EEC directive:
6210*-Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) with important orchid sites (6,73 ha)
91AA*-Eastern white oak forests (11,22 ha)
A rich flora in Orchids and Pteridophytes.
Birds of the annex I of the 09/147/EU directive: Pernis apivorus, Milvus migrans, Circaetus gallicus, Circus cyaneus, Circus pygargus, Falco vespertinus, Falco peregrinus, Caprimulgus europaeus (B), Coracias garrulus, Lullula arborea (B), Anthus campestris, Lanius collurio (B) Emberiza hortulana
Mammals of the annex II of the 92/43/EEC directive: Canis lupus*
Amphibians and Reptiles of the annex II of the 92/43/EEC directive Triturus carnifex
Invertebrates of the annex II of the 92/43/EEC directive: Lucanus cervus, Cerambyx cerdo

Importance of the project area for biodiversity and/or for the conservation of the species /habitat types targeted at regional, national and EU level


The biogeographic significance of the Località Gesso is linked to its Mediterranean flora, with many elements at the northern limit in the Apennines. Among these, the 91AA* Eastern white oak forests (11,22 ha) are here present as submediterranean forest formations with Quercus pubescens and Fraxinus ornus, Ostrya carpinifolia, Carpinus orientalis, Sorbus domestica, Spartium junceum, Scabiosa columbaria, Silene nutans, Coronilla emerus, Anthericum ramosum, Dictamnus albus, Geranium sanguineum, Epipactis helleborine, Rubia peregrina, Osyris alba, Dorychnium hirsutum, Peucedanum cervaria and stenomediterranean species such as Asparagus acutifolius, Rubia peregrina, Clematis flammula, Rosa sempervirens. The xeric meadows with Bromus erectus and many species of orchids (6210*) are covering 6,73 ha and are strictly linked to the habitat 91AA*. The structure of these forests is often modified and simplified by the widespread past coppice activity in private forests, now abandoned and also forbidden in the park, in which only the tall forest conversion is allowed; the privates are not interested in the conversion and the forests are abandoned or illegally coppiced, so it is very important to purchase these forests to manage the conversion and to stop illegal coppicing.
Other serious threats are the fires and the uncontrolled cleaning of the forest, by cutting undergrowth and new plants; presence of invasive non-native species Ailanthus altissima and Robinia pseudoacacia; high agriculture pressure along the borders of forests.

Flagship species in project area

Lilium croceum, Cerambyx cerdo, Pernis apivorus

Back to Project Areas