Contrada Religion (ITA080008)
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Contrada Religion

Site type: SAC - Special Conservation Area

Code: ITA080008 - Hectares: 194

Description: 

The site falls within the territory of the municipality of Modica. The soils are rendzinic, mixed (rendzinico-sandy-clayey), sandy and silty. The substrates are calcarenites,
cobblestones from alluvial transport, sands.The climate of the site is dry thermo-Mediterranean according to the terminology of Rivas Martinez.
biogeographical, but which, due to having been besieged and penetrated by the pressing anthropization, has recently almost completely lost, both in the qualifying sense
what quantity, the characteristic elements of its psammophilous vegetation and brackish environments. The halophilic environments behind the dunes already of great interest
naturalistic have been degraded by the introduction of fresh water from residential settlements aimed at recreation and bathing. Here however it has
its presence is amplified by the very rare Erianthus ravennae.The site consists of three ecologically distinct parts: the limestone cliffs, the beaches with
relative dune formations and the retrodunal pond.On the cliffs there are populations of Limonium hyblaeum, Limonium virgatum and with extraordinary
abundance of Limonium sinuatum. Other species present here are Thymelaea hirsuta, Helichrysum conglobatum var. compactum (characteristics of the Sicilian Thymelaeo Helichrysetm), Plantago macrorhiza, Lotus cytisoides, Reichardia picroides var. maritima. All the formations present on the cliff are to be included in the
Crithmo-Limonion In the humid depressions in winter and dry in summer, representative associations of Juncetalia maritimi (1410) such as Limonio, Juncetum acuti, Imperato-Juncetum tommasinii and Schoeno-Plantaginetum crassifoliae, characterized together by Juncus maritimus, Hordeimum,
Juncus acutus, Plantago crassifolia, Centaurium spicatum, Schoenoplectus littoralis, Arthrocnemum macrostachyum, Imperata cylindrica.
brackish has seen a decrease in Na + concentrations due to the introduction of sewage from residential settlements, associations have intensified their presence
afferent to Phragmitetea. An interesting aspect, despite the general tendency to deteriorate, is the presence of the rare Erianthus ravennae
(present only in south-eastern Sicily and in the Marinello lakes) Still existing is the system of incipient dunes with the Agropyretum mediterranei Association
(2110) to Elymus farctus, Sporobolus virginicus Kunth, Launaea resedifolia, Eryngium maritimum, Euphorbia paralias, Echinophora spinosa, Ammophila arenaria.
Also on the incipient dunes and in contact with the beach, there are associations of the Cakiletea maritimae (1210) with Cakile maritima, Atriplex tornabeni
(extremely ephemeral), Salsola kali subsp. kali, Salsola kali subsp. tragus, Glaucium flavum, Polygonum maritimum, Euphorbia paralias. Relatively well
developed are the dunes consolidated by the associations of Ammophiletea (2120) with Ammophila arenaria subsp. australis, Launaea resedifolia, Echinophora
spinosa, Medicago marina, Scolymus hispanicus, Euphorbia paralias. Even the Crucianelletum maritimi (2210) is today extremely impoverished being
characterized almost exclusively by Pancratium maritimum.

Interesting coastal environment, which still shows a clearly evident vegetation series (hygrophilous, halophilous and psammophilous). Its importance is related to
extreme rarity with which it is possible to find similar environments in good natural conditions along the coastal strip of southern Sicily.
floristic and vegetational view the site for the sandy part has in the past possessed a good naturalistic value. Due to the strong anthropogenic pressure
around its outline it has gradually reduced the naturalness that had characterized it. The settlements from the outer belt that besieged it are
passed inside and therefore it has everywhere reduced its naturalness to the point of almost nullifying it. All the vegetable associations of the dune formations and of the
sandy beaches present themselves today in extremely impoverished and often unrecognizable forms. The Pantano area has also changed its characters, in
oligotrophic sense. In it, associations of the Juncetalia are found only in few examples in extreme conditions of impoverishment, the same can be said for
the already mentioned associations of Molinio-Holoschoenion of which only the characteristic Holoschoenus australis is found with some frequency. In this
environment, no longer with the character of a brackish marsh but of a pond with low salinity, new formations afferent to the Phragmitetea, not reported
in the previous compilation. For the rocky part, however, the site fully retains its importance as it still hosts strips of vegetation afferent
to the Limonietum and more generally to the Crithmo-Limonium. Here the formations in Frankenia hirsuta with Helichrysum conglobatum keep their great interest
var. compactum, present - the latter - for Italy only on the Ragusano coasts. With this update it was not possible to confirm the
presence of Muscari gussonei, priority species of the Habitat Directive given for present in the previous compilation (albeit without literature references), but
which had not been found either by Albo (1919) or by Bartolo & al. (1982). However, the site must be protected due to the presence of the following rare or endemic taxa:
Limonium hyblaeum, Limonim sinuatum, Erianthus ravennae, Helichrysum conglobatum var. compactum, as well as for the presence of the two Orchidaceae Barlia
robertiana and Orchis coriophora.

 

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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