Majella National Park

The whole area of Majella National Park consists of four main mountain chains (Majella, Morrone, Porrara and Pizzi Mounts) alternating with karst plateaux and river valleys. Its peculiarity lies both in its mountainous landscape (more than 60 ranges, 30 of which rise up to over 2,000 m) and in its Mediterranean geographical position that make it a wilderness area with high levels of biodiversity. Its environmental importance is also marked by the fact it is the linkage zone between the two protected areas of Gran Sasso-Laga Mountains and Sirente-Velino Regional Park. The human presence dating back to Palaeolithic is attested by countless historical, archaeological and architectural remains located in 39 municipalities.

Majella National Park is characterised by vast areas with a high naturalistic value. More than 50 different habitats have been identified at various altitudes. Its highest peaks host a large number of endemic plants and relict animal species. The twisted shrubs are mostly composed of mugho pine that is the most widespread vegetal formation in the Apennines. Under them there are beech-trees alternating with minor pasture lands that are very rich in species. One of the most important animal species are the Apennine wolf (Canis lupus); Marsican brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus), although it has no stable populations in the park, and the Apennine chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata). There are also other species of ungulates such as deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa). Several bird species of conservation concern nest in the park such as golden eagle (Aquila chrysaëtus), lanner (Falco biarmicus), dotterel (Charadrius morinellus). Amphibians of high conservation value include fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra gigliolii) and Northern spectacled salamander (Salamandra perspicillata) and, among reptiles, the Orsini viper (Vipera ursini ursinii).

The whole area is part of ‘Majella National Park’ spa and include 4 scis that cover this territory for 64%. With over 2,150 floristic species, the park hosts 65% of Abruzzo’s flora, that is equivalent to 37% of Italy’s flora and to 22% of Europe’s flora, as well as 78% of Abruzzo’s mammals (except for cetaceans), that is equivalent to 45% of those living in Italy. Although on some numerous species groups such as insectivores and chiropterans data is lacking, the park represents a real ‘hot spot’ for biodiversity conservation also with regard to this faunal component. According to what is stated under Directive 92/43 eec 21 habitats, 8 plant species, 36 invertebrates, 3 fish species, 8 species of amphibians and reptiles, 20 bird species and 11 mammals have been identified.