IT05-Lowland Forests - Italy

Basic Information
Site Name
IT05-Lowland Forests
Short name
Subsite Name(s)
Site Manager
canopy cover
forest dynamics
rainfall chemical analysis
Site Description
The Natural State Reserve “Bosco della Fontana” is protected on its completely extension from 1976, in 1998 has become Special Protection Area (SPAs) under the Bird Habitat and in 2004 has been declared Site of Community Importance (SCI) under the Habitat Directive. The RNBF surface is occupied for 85% by an ancient plain forest and a primary semi-natural woodland (Mason, 2004). On the ground of the Habitat Directive and phytosociological perspective established by Andreatta (2002) three types of habitat of community interest are individuated: Habitat 9160, Habitat 91E0 and Habitat 3260. The climate is continental with cold winters and hot summers and a dryness period in July. From a geomorphologic point of view, the area has been influenced by the melting of the quaternary glaciers (Garda lake and river Adige) and by the consequent floods happened during the pleistocene interglacial stages (Riss-Würm). In particular the RNBF is situated in a transition zone from the high and the low gravely Po-plain of Mantova (Rioda, 2004). The hydrological regime doesn’t follow the natural trend, but it depends on the water management for the neighbouring fields irrigation. A deal with the water managing institution guaranties during the winter (the critical period for the water level fluctuations) a “minimum vital flux” for Rio Begotta and Roggia Sgarzabella, the two rivers running through the Reserve. The grassland, located in the heart of the Reserve, is one of the last semi-natural formations existing in the province of Mantova at the present time. For the management of the grassland the method of the cyclical rotational mowing is used (different pieces of grassland are mowed in different moments of the year); that technique allows the constant presence of grasses at disparate highness and guaranties the steady flowering during the summer period. This system/modus operandi has the aim to diversify microhabitats and the consequent rise of biodiversity, in particular flora’s entomological fauna. The whole number of spontaneous plants in the Reserve is 470, of which 60 are considerated rare in the Po plain. There are about 50 allochthonous vegetal species now naturalized. The faunistic researches have singled out 160 vertebrate species and 2,520 invertebrate species. In the group of those there are 47 animal species protected at the European level, that are listed in the annexes II and IV of the Habitat Directive and in the annex I of the Birds Directive (2 mollusc species, 5 insect species, 3 fishes species, 4 amphibian species, 6 reptile species, 21 bird species and 6 mammalian species) Currently 30 allochthonous animal species have been recorded. The people admittance in the reserve is limited throughout certain rules and it’s modelled on the primary conservation’s necessities. The RNBF is the location of a research centre: the National Centre for the Study and Conservation of Forest Biodiversity.
Last modified
2020-06-29 10:06:14
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
Site Status
Year Established
Studies on: Forest dynamic; Evaluation of the canopy healthfulness; Atmospheric ozone measurement; atmospheric rainfall chemistry; Lucanus cervus monitoring; Evaluation of ozone; damage on vegetation; Vegetation analysis; River EBI index; Basidiomycetes and ascomycetes monitoring; Meteorological data survey
Bosco Fontana is an ancient primary woodland and represents one of the last remnant of the original Po plain forest. The historic events that have influenced the area are the fragmentation and the decrease of the forest habitat surface, the modification in the forest composition and structure. One of the most relevant events happened is the heavy storm in 1949, which uprooted more than 1500 m3 of wood, leaving “naked” a 50 ha area. The consequent reforestation with allochthonus species (plane tree and red oak) constitutes another alteration of the natural ecosystem. The allochthouns species are progressively eliminated to reconstitute the original oak-hornbeam woodland. From a faunistic point of view, the area represents a “tank” of forest species disappeared or extremely rare in the other areas. The central grassland, used for grazing till 70s, is now treated with scheduled mows.
Elevation (average)
Elevation (min)
Elevation (max)
Affiliation and Network Specific Information
ILTERThis site is a verified "ILTER" member.
LTER EuropeThis site is a verified "LTER Europe" member.
LTER Italia (Italy) (LTER_EU_IT_005)This site is a verified "LTER Italia (Italy)" member.

Site information [.json]

Centroid coordinates [.shp] [.kml]