Renovation of Palo Wood
Project location: ITALY, Palo
Project start date: February 2007 - Project end date: This project covers various years
Project number: 0000-11
Beneficiary: n.a. - Various Beneficiaries
Merely 40 kilometers from Rome there is an estate of 140 hectares owned by the Odescalchi family, and managed by WWF Italy. The property consists of a woody area comprising the coastal region of San Nicola on the Via Aurelia, up to Ladispoli. The variety of uncontaminated vegetation and wildlife growing just outside of Rome is truly exceptional.
The estate is one of the last remaining areas of tyrrenic planitial forest. The planitial (i.e. on sea level) woodland is marked by significant arborous spots, both evergreen and deciduous, and a rich brushwood. The dominant arborous species is the Turkey Oak, a tree which normally lives at higher altitudes in Italy. It is therefore a relict environment which can be found in very few other instances in the country.
In addition to the Turkey Oak, other trees found growing mainly in humid climates include Ashes and Elms. There are trees which are distinctively Mediterranean, including the Holm Oak, the Mastic, the myrtle, and Phyllirea latifolia, which in their shrub variety form a densely populated brushwood with clematis and smilax.
The herbaceous vegetation is marked by an intense cyclamen blossoming, both in autumn and in spring, in addition to a wide variety of mushrooms.
The wildlife in the Palo Wood includes interesting mammals such as the hedgehog, the badger, the polecat and the weasel. There are also various types of permanent birds such as the tawny owl, the titmouse, and the tomtit. Moreover, in spring and autumn, many migratory birds visit the Oasis.
In the interior regions of the wood there are humid areas called astatic water pools, which are surfacings of the groundwater table, in which water can be found from October-November, until early June. This typical Tyrrhenian forest environment is, unfortunately, rapidly vanishing due to the irrational exploitation and harnessing of underground water. These pools are particularly interesting since they contain rare shellfish, swamp tortoises, tritons and various kinds of frogs, in addition to an intense blossoming of water lilies.
In open grasslands there are wild orchids which are considered quite rare.
The wildlife along the wood's borders and in the grassland includes numerous tortoises and snakes, such as the grass snake, the four-lined snake, and the dark green snake. The lake, excavated a few years ago hosts various kinds of aquatic birds.
The sea facing the Oasis is particularly abounding in fish, and offers the possibility to observe rare maritime birds such as the gannet, the cormorant, the Corsican seagull and the merganser.
The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded grants for the renovation of Palo Wood. Please click on the related projects for more information.