Umbria: biodiversity richness
Environment and biodiversity: La Casella is a starting point for ecotourism in Umbria making it the perfect holiday resort for nature and wildlife lovers. The environment is defined by the presence of the River Chiani and Migliari watercourse, by woods, meadows and fields and by the closeness of the Protected Natural Area Melonta-Bosco dell’Elmo, 1,268 hectares of wooded hills from which Mount Peglia and Mount Melonta appear.
The main habitat is the ilex grove, but there are also other tree species such as oaks and hornbeams, as well as heathers and arbutuses. The ilex grove of Bosco dellu2019Elmo (Elm forest) is considered the most interesting forest of the Umbria protected areas.
In the wet areas there are willows, poplars and alders.
The water of river and streams is a very important element for the biodiversity of these environments. The particular physical and biological conditions ensure the survival of many plants, animals and birds that you cannot find anywhere else.
Humidity, temperature, light, type of soil and water influence the conditions for the life of riparian vegetation.
Riparian vegetation consist of parallel bands that develop from the centre of the river Chiani outwards.
Over the low water level there are annual herbs and then gradually perennial grasses. Here the soil goes from coarse gravel to fine dust.
At the shores the water level is moderate, here are willows, which first take on a shrub and prostrate structure and then become pure willow trees.
Compared with woods, also the animal life of the rivers is richer, because there are many freshwater fish species that complete their life cycle in this habitat.
Even the presence of insects is very diversified, because they proliferate in moisture or find a suitable environment for the life of the larvae in the water.
So, there is a very interesting presence of birds that can feed on various fishes or insects.
Also mammals live on the banks of the river Chiani, where they have access to water, food and shelter.
Due to the floods and the distance from the human activities, these watercourses usually maintain huge quantities of dead wood, in the form of standing trunks or broken branches. This element is very important for biodiversity, because many insects, some rare and at risk of extinction, feed on wood and decompose it.
Animal life of the area
In the woods there are many mammals: martens, Leisler’s noctule that is a small bat, porcupines and wild cats. Woods are also housed by skunks, rare Italic hares, wild boars and deers which are natural prey of the wolf.
Among the birds we note green woodpeckers, while the survival of birds of prey is guaranteed by numerous species: brown kites, short-toed eagles, sparrow-hawks, goshawks, buzzards, kestrels, hobbies, peregrine falcons and, among the nocturnal birds: owls, barn owls and tawny owls.
In the fresh water habitat there are crayfishes, fire salamanders, Italian crested newts, spectacled salamanders and Apennines frogs.
River environment is very rich in indigenous fish species: roachs, brown trouts and brook gobies, as well as carps and catfishes. In the protected area there are also endemic species typical of central Italy such as rovellas, barbel tibers and Etruscan chubs.