General description of project area


Name of the project area: Riva di San Biagio

Surface area (ha): 102.640

EU protection status SPA: –

EU protection status SCI: NATURA 2000 Code IT407011

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 80%, forestry 10%, agriculture 10%

The ownership status: Private property 100%

Scientific description of project area


The site contains one of the central sectors of the most important outcrop of Messinian gypsum in Europe, an area of great geological and naturalistic interest.
The layers of the so-called Gypsum Vein, inclined towards the plain, cause here the most precipitous (100-150 m) and long (5 km) cliff facing south and with interesting Mediterranean character (Juniperus oxycedrus, Helianthemum appenninum, Fumana procumbens, Pyracantha coccynea), contrasting with the more moderate slopes facing north, wooded, with fresh stations and rich in floristic elements typical of the high Apennines (Phyllitis scolopendrium, Galanthus nivalis, Tilia x vulgaris, Laburnum anagyroides). The whole area is characterized by widespread karst phenomena on the surface (blind valleys, sinkholes, ravines, erosive forms, plowed fields) and on the underground (sinkholes, resurgent, chasms and caves also of considerable development), which contribute to diversify peculiar morphologies, rich in contrasts and environments with high biodiversity. The site has a very diverse flora with Mediterranean and Central European elements, as well as an interesting aboveground and underground fauna. Woods and thickets mesophilic and xerophilous dominated by Quercus pubescens (91AA*), with slopes stations of Quercus ilex (9340), 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*). The caves have a well-preserved natural environment, with an abundance of ferns and specialized flora, colonies of bats and troglophile and troglobitic invertebrate fauna. Agricultural crops are relatively uncommon in the area, more common on the surrounding area. The area is inside the regional park Vena del Gesso Romagnola.
Height habitats are protected by the annex I of the 92/43/EEC directive:
5130-Juniperus communis formations on heaths or calcareous grasslands
6110*-Rupicolous calcareous or basophilic grasslands of the Alysso-Sedion albi
6210*-Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) with important orchid sites (33,05 ha)
8210-Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
8310-Caves not-for tourism
91AA*-Eastern white oak forests (34,88 ha)
9260-Woods of Castanea sativa
9340-Forests of Quercus ilex and Quercus rotundifolia
A rich flora in Orchids and Pteridophytes.
Birds of the annex I of the 09/147/EU directive:
Pernis apivorus (B), Milvus migrans, Circaetus gallicus, Circus aeruginosus, Circus cyaneus, Circus pygargus (B), Falco vespertinus, Falco biarmicus feldeggii, Falco peregrinus (B), Caprimulgus europaeus (B), Coracias garrulus, Lullula arborea (B), Anthus campestris, Sylvia undata (B), Lanius collurio (B), Emberiza hortulana
Mammals of the annex II of the 92/43/EEC directive:
Rhinolophus hipposideros, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Rhinolophus euryale, Myotis blythii, Miniopterus schreibersii Myotis myotis, Canis lupus* (B)
Amphibians and Reptiles of the annex II of the 92/43/EEC directive: Triturus carnifex, Bombina pachypus
Invertebrates of the annex II of the 92/43/EEC directive: Callimorpha quadripunctaria *, Lucanus cervus, Cerambyx cerdo, Coenagrion mercuriale castellanii.


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 Riva di San Biagio is linked to its rich biodiversity, its Mediterranean flora, with many elements at the northern limit in the Apennines. Among these, the 91AA* Eastern white oak forests (34,88 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, Juniperus oxycedrus. The xeric meadows with Bromus erectus and many species of orchids (6210*) are covering 33,05 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 nonnative species Ailanthus altissima and Robinia pseudoacacia; presence of old re-forestation with nonnative species Pinus nigra, Pinus sylvestris (all the wide forests areas includes in the project area and not classified as 91AA* could be this priority habitat if it wasn’t for the high presence of exotic pines); high agriculture pressure along the borders of forests.


Flagship species in project area

Narcissus tazetta, Sylvia undata, Felis silvestris

Back to Project Areas