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Mesola pine forests


The environment


The pine forests Motte del Fondo (63.17.57 ha) and Ribaldesa (26.48.36 ha) are located South from Mesola and are separated by the Romea main road no. 309. They are in a dune area, called Motte del Fondo, which formed around the 10th century A.D., and which separated the area of the former Vallona Valley (now reclaimed) from the sea. This woodland area was created from 1936 and 1938, when the Corps of forest rangers sowed pine nuts in small furrows.
The northern and southern hills are on two paleodunes, East from the Mesola built-up area, and formed more recently. They are located North and South from Via Biverare and are the remaining woodland part of the central part of the estate of the Este family. Via Biverare is the old Stradone della Giovecca, which connected the Mesola castle to the opposite part of the estate, the remaining part of which is the San Giustina wood (Mantovani and Pelleri 1991, Pagnoni 1998).

The flora
The main species are the stone pine (Pinus pinea) and, to a lesser extent, the maritime pine (Pinus pinaster). The Mesola pine forests are no longer used for commercial purposes for the production of wood, natural forestry activities are carried out, aimed at highlighting the value of the environment. The forests were naturally renewed with pines, but the pines often have such little vegetation cover that small holm oaks grew naturally there, so that large parts of these pine forests are gradually turning into forests of holm oaks, of a type similar to that of the Mesola wood, of higher naturalistic value. In particularly high areas of the pine forest of Motte del Fondo, characterized by strong solar irradiation (top of dunes with no trees) the herbage has a strong component of moss and lichens, very rare and sub-endemic of the consolidated sand of the northern Adriatic area. For the description of this plant association (Tortulo-Scabiosetum gramuntietum) see the part on the Mesola wood (Corticelli 1991, Mantovani and Pelleri 1991, Pagnoni 1998, Pellizzari and Pagnoni 1998).


The fauna

The fauna of the pine forests is very rich, but at the same time with general characteristics and the presence of ubiquitous species typical for the coastal woods of the high Adriatic area. The common species are the green toad (Bufo viridis) and the common toad (Bufo bufo), the pool frog (Rana esculenta complex) and the common frog (Rana dalmatina), the Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni) and, in the water, the pond turtle (Emys orbicularis), but there are also many green lizards (Lacerta viridis), Italian wall lizards (Podarcis sicula) and common wall lizards (Podarcis muralis), green whip snakes (Coluber virdiflavus) and Aesculapian snakes (Elaphe longissima). The asp viper (Vipera aspis) is rare. Other common species are ubiquitous birds such as the pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), the blackbird (Turdus merula), the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), the starling (Sturnus vulgaris), the goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), the chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), the greenfinch (Carduelis chloris), the great tit (Parus major) and the blue tit (Parus caeruleus), which can often be seen in the transition areas between woods and agricultural land. Other common species are woodpigeons (Columba palumbus) and stock doves (Columba oenas), during the autumn migration period, they are partly wintering birds. It is quite common to see them move back and forth between the stubble, where they eat, and the woods, where they rest. Only in summer there are the following species: the cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), the nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), the hoopoe (Upupa epops) and the golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus). The great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) is quite common. Corvids are common throughout the year, in particular the following species can be easily seen: the hooded crow (Corvus coronae cornix), the magpie (Pica pica) and, more typically inside the woods, the jay (Garrulus glandarius). The night birds are the tawny owl (Strix aluco), the barn owl (Tyto alba), the long-eared owl (Asio otus) and the little owl (Athene noctua). The insectivore mammals are the common shrew (Sorex araneus), the Mediterranean water shrew (Neomys anomalus), the mole (Talpa europaea) and the hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). Examples of the rodents that are present here are the water vole (Arvicola terrestris), the field mouse (Apodemus sp.), the house mouse (Mus musculus), the harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) and rats (Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus). As for mustelids, there are weasels (Mustela nivalis) and beech martens (Martes foina), (Mazzotti 1992, Mazzotti and Stagni 1993, Pagnoni 1998).




Free access to the paths



Pine forests


CTR 1:25.000 - 187SE


Motte del Fondo 63.17.57 ha, Ribaldesa 26.48.36 ha



Owned by

Emilia Romagna Region


Province of Ferrara





Hydrogeological restriction according to the Royal Decree 3267 of 1923.

The area is almost completely (except for the northern part) subject to restrictions as area of outstanding natural beauty, according to Law 1497/1939. Environmental restriction according to Law 431/1985. The last two regulations were abrogated by the decree-law 490/1999 that is currently in force.

The pine forests are included in the wildlife sanctuary called “Mesola pine forest”, deliberation 299/10015 of August 1,1979, which includes, in addition to the woodland area, some private agricultural land in the surrounding areas.

The site lies within the boundaries of the Delta Park, according to the Regional law 27/1988 and the plans of the Volano-Mesola-Goro station of 1991 and 1997 (area B.PIN).




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