Upper course of the Irmino River (ITA080002)
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Upper course of the Irmino River

Site type: SAC - Special Conservation Area

Code: ITA080002 - Hectares: 1255

Description: 

The site, extending 1211.00 Ha, falls within the municipal area of ​​Ragusa. The soils are lithosols partially leached by alluvial transport. At the bottom of the valley there is one
prevalence of loamy and clayey-loamy soils. The geological substrates are mainly compact limestone of tertiary origin, the presence of is rarely observed
The climate of the area is in the upper part of the lower subhumid Mesomediterraneo valley, in the lower part it is subhumid upper Thermomediterranean
lower according to the criterion of Rivas Martinez adapted to Sicily by Brullo & al. (1996). The site is characterized by the presence of the following plant groups
distributed according to the physical characteristics of the various parts of the valley in which the Irminio river flows. 1) In the valley floor along the watercourse, characterized by oligomesotrophic waters, riparian formations are present for long stretches of Platanus orientalis, Salix alba, Salix pedicellata and Populus nigra (here completely absent is Populus
alba adapted to slow-flowing streams and heavy soils). Of great interest here is the presence of Euphorbia amygdaloides subsp. arbuscula Meusel,
endemism limited to Sicily and well known for the deciduous forest formations of the Nebrodi and Madonie. 2) Where the water enters the meanders that
slow down the course (or on the S. Rosalia reservoir) try to appear forms of floating hydrophytic communities referable to Callitricho-Batrachion, but always with
modest incidence on the extension of the free surface of the water. 3) Similarly, in rare conditions of absolutely still water, algal blankets are formed at
Chara sp. pl. 4) There is no shortage of very modest examples of chasmophilous vegetation. However, this is always very impoverished due to the absence of limestone parts
strictly vertical (this is explained by the very open character of the valley furrow). Here there are few species such as Dianthus rupicola, Helichrysum hyblaeum, Antirrhinum siculum, Silene fruticosa. 5) Finally, most of the slopes are colonized by thermomediterranean formations to Ampelodesmos mauritanicus
(coding 5330) .6) Finally, everywhere in particular dry conditions, grasslands of ephemeral herbs can be traced back to the Thero-Brachypodietea.

The importance of this valley is remarkable for being the seat of the ripisilve in Platanus orientalis, present only in some valleys of eastern Sicily and completely absent
from western Sicily. Individuals of P. orientalis are generally in good health and quite resistant to the fungus known as "sycamore cancer" which it has instead
decimated the population of the Anapo and Irminio quarries. The Valley could probably be the speciation center of Helichrysum hyblaeum. Very
the valley in the Gabella del Signore district, near the S. Rosalia dam, is rich in orchids. For all these reasons and for the high conditions
naturalness of the places (the habitats are in almost undisturbed conditions even in the immediate vicinity of the urban fabric of Ragusa) the site is worthy
of great attention to rigorous conservation measures. It represents one of the few examples of "quarry" in the Ragusa area. The presence of grasslands
steppiche and cliffs favors the presence of the Lanario, a species always very rare in Sicily, and of other Raptors deserving of maximum protection. The invertebrate fauna is
characterized by a considerable wealth of species of great ecological and biogeographical interest, or relevant from the point of view of conservation, linked above all
to the aquatic and riparian environment There are numerous endemic species, sometimes very localized and stenoecies, being linked to particular ecological conditions and
microhabitat, whose persistence is guaranteed only by a high integrity of natural environments, such as the Cedusa sicula, very demanding Omottero
linked to an intact floodplain vegetation characterized by an arboreal layer that guarantees shade and coolness even during the hottest and sunniest hours of
day

 

Source: Ministry of the Environment Natura 2000 form

Ministerial data: Ministerial Map  Natura 2000 form

Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero

Photo: web

Information contributions: Ignazio Caloggero, Region of Sicily

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