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Man And the Biosphere - MAB

The Advisory Committee on the Biosphere Reserves of the UNESCO MAB (Man and Biosphere) Program, in the meeting that took place in Paris between the 9th  and the 10th June 1997, decided unanimously the inclusion of the area of the National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano in the prestigious network  of the Biosphere Reserves.

In the National Park of the Cilento, Vallo of Diano and Alburni there are, also, 28 Sites of Community Interest (SIC), according to the European Commission Directive (92/43/CEE, Directive Habitat) and 8 Zones of Special Protection (ZPS), according to the European Commission Directive (79/409/CEE, Directive Birds), all included in the Mediterranean Bio-geographic Region. The Nature 2000 Network occupies a surface of 118,316 hectares, equal to the 65% of the whole Park and it is managed through the relative Plans of Management.

The otter is the queen of the rivers of the Cilento. It is a semi-aquatic carnivore linked to the running waters that finds in our Park one of the most suitable areas being present in all its rivers. In Italy it was originally widespread throughout the peninsula, but is currently confined along some watercourses that extend between Campania, Basilicata, Molise, Puglia and northern Calabria regions.
It has morphology adapted to the aquatic environment: elongated body, brown on the back and on the legs and hazel-white on the belly, on the chest and on the throat, with thick and waterproof fur; the legs are short but strong, with webbed feet, the tail is broad and rather flattened. The ears are small and, like the nostrils, they close when the animal plunges; the eyes, also small and facing upwards, are well suited to underwater vision; the snout is equipped with vibrissae that allow to identify the prey in turbid waters or nocturnal darkness.
It is a territorial animal, very elusive and leads solitary life. On the ground it does not look very agile, while in the water it shows both an extraordinary ability in swimming speed and a remarkable ability to dive. It can remain underwater for up to 7-8 minutes and reach depths of 9-15 meters. It has an elected burrow with a fixed dwelling, dug directly on the banks of the mirrors and watercourses, and has more temporary shelters.
Its diet consists mainly of fish, but does not disdain to feed on amphibians, crustaceans and even reptiles, depending on the food resource.
The habitat consists of rivers, streams and mountain lakes up to an altitude of more than 2000 m asl, marshes, lagoons, estuaries and river mouths, irrigation canals and reservoirs, where there is a good alternation of or less deep, calm and currents, with a good availability of fish and abundant vegetation.

The Apennine Wolf is an indigenous subspecies of the Italian peninsula.
It has a slender body, a long snout, not very long triangular ears, a relatively short neck, a short, hairy tail and long, thin limbs. Its weight can vary from 25 to 40 kg. The color of the coat is camouflage, the eyes are oblique, light brown, and arranged in a frontal position and rather spaced from each other. Characteristic of the species is the presence of particularly developed "feral" teeth whose function seems to be that of cutting large bones and tendons.
It is a territorial animal, who lives in herds that correspond essentially to a family unit. The social structure of a herd is not rigid and inversions of hierarchical positions can be determined. All members of the pack hunt and defend the territory in an integrated and coordinated manner. It is an excellent runner and usually during the night hours it moves about ten kilometers.
It feeds on various species of wild mammals (wild boar, roe deer) and domestic species (sheep, goats, calves and foals). In conditions of low availability of habitual prey it can also exploit small mammals, fruit, insects and waste.
In Italy it frequents densely forested mountain areas. Despite the number of wolves in Italy in recent decades has shown a steady and progressive increase, the species remains threatened by the limited overall population of the population present in the country.
In the Park there are certainly three herds that orbit between the Cervati Massif and the Alburni Mountains, to which are added at least 3 couples and a number of solitary individuals very variable.
Widespread throughout the peninsula until the mid-1800s, it suffered a strong persecution by man and at the beginning of the 1970s it was present only in a few and fragmented mountain areas of the central-southern Apennines. In the last decades of the twentieth century it has again expanded its range spreading throughout the Apennine chain.

The Italian hare has been confirmed as a new species only recently (in 1999).
It is smaller than the European hare: it has a more slender appearance, with hind legs and proportionally longer ears.
It is a prudent and suspicious animal, with solitary tendencies. It appears rather tied to its territory, from which it does not move away sensibly if it is not forced by excessive disturbance. It has a very developed sense of hearing and smell, but has a poor vision. It runs very fast with sudden scraps and is capable of making long jumps. It spends the day away from the vegetation in a shallow den that digs with the front legs and models with the body, while it becomes active at dusk during the night.
It feeds on fresh and dried herbs, fruits, seeds, mushrooms, acorns, winter cereal sprouts, barks.
It seems to prefer the environments where they alternate clearings (also cultivated), bushy areas and deciduous forests.
The range of the species has undergone a substantial contraction accompanied by a significant reduction in population density.
Currently in Italy peninsular populations have been identified located in regions like Calabria, Basilicata, Campania, Puglia, Molise, Abruzzo, Lazio and Tuscany, while in Sicily it is spread almost everywhere.
In our park it is present with isolated nuclei on the Alburni Mountains, on the Cervati Massif and on the Monte Gelbison.


The wild cat is a medium-sized carnivore (mesocarnivore) that reaches 1.20 meters in length including the tail, of 35 cm; it has a very agile robust body, a short, round head, strong and long legs, especially the hind legs, a truncated tail at the end and of uniform thickness. The fur is thick and soft, of a fawn-gray color, lighter on the belly, with dark transverse bands on the back; some blackish rings adorn the tail, ending with a black hood.
It is a territorial and elusive animal, who leads predominantly solitary life. He has a very sensitive sight, hearing and smell. It is active in particular during the night and during the day it takes shelter in stumps, tree cavities, rock fractures or abandoned dens of other animals (badgers, foxes, porcupines). Ambush hunting both on the ground and on the trees. It is a highly specialized carnivore, it feeds rodents, hares, rabbits and, more rarely, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.
It lives in forests, particularly broad-leaved, which can be considered an indicator of environmental quality. It tends to avoid areas at high altitudes, probably in relation to snowmaking, which can be an obstacle to moving and hunting.
It is present throughout the central-southern area of ​​the peninsula, in Sicily and in Sardinia regions, with a very fragmented distribution. However, it seems to be decreasing throughout its range, probably due to the fragmentation of forest environments and the general disturbance caused by man.

The marten is a medium-sized carnivore (mesocarnivore) belonging to the family of the Mustelidae, like the Otter; very similar to the marten, but unlike the latter the characteristic stain on the throat and chest is smaller and is never white, but yellow. It is about 45 cm long, to which must be added about 25 cm of the tail. The fur, thick and shiny, is brown, while the muzzle and chin are darker and the head and the backs lighter; short, round ears have a white border; the long and hairy tail is very useful both in the race and in the jump because it works as a stabilizer, while the legs, having the fifth opposable finger, guarantee a perfect grip on the trees.
It is a territorial animal, mainly active at night, while in the daytime it takes refuge on trees, using especially in winter the hollows of the trunks placed also at considerable height from the ground. Very agile and excellent climber, hunting on the branches chasing the prey at considerable speed and making acrobatic leaps from branch to branch, but often catch their prey on the ground. It feeds on small rodents and insectivores, more rarely than hares, rabbits and rats; the diet also includes fruit, invertebrates, birds and in some cases waste.
It lives in high-forest forests of great extension and with scarce undergrowth, whether they are coniferous, deciduous or mixed, from the plain to the mountain, where it reaches up to 2000 meters of altitude. It also frequents very dense scrublands, while it is generally absent from areas without tree cover and avoids human settlements and surrounding areas.
It is present in the forest areas of the entire peninsula with a very fragmented distribution. However, it seems to be decreasing throughout its range, probably due to the fragmentation of forest environments and the general disturbance caused by man.

The Italian roe deer, present in central and southern Italy, has been confirmed as a new species distinct from the European roe deer only recently, at the beginning of the 2000s.
It is a ungulate with short antlers, usually with 3 tips per side in adult subjects. The body is of a color between red and brown, the snout towards gray.
It is active both day and night depending on the circumstances and the seasons. Agile in jumping and fast in the race, he possesses sharp and well-developed sense of smell. The females and the young lead gregarious life in small groups led by an adult, while the males remain secluded except during the winter season. The males are strictly territorial from May to October.
Roe deer feeds on grasses, shoots, leaves, wild fruits, mushrooms, green cereals, barks.
It lives in territories of plain, hill and middle mountain with alternating open environments with herbaceous vegetation, broad-leaved woods. However it adapts to different environmental situations, from pure forests of conifers to the Mediterranean scrub.
In our Park the roe deer was present until the 50s of the last century, after which it became extinct due to anthropogenic causes. Since 2005, the Park Authority has initiated reintroduction actions using about 20 examples of Italian Capriolo, released in the Cervati Massif area, from which they have also been distributed to Mount Gelbison and part of the Alburni Mountains.

The Rock partridge is an exclusive Galliforme of central-eastern Europe. It has a typical facial mask, with an obvious black streak that describes a collar from the beak up to the chin strap across the ocular region; the cheeks and the throat are white. The beak and the eyepiece are red while the legs can vary from pink to coral red. The latter, robust and strong, reveal the rupicolous habits of this bird. The tail shows a bicolor plumage with a gray central area and a reddish outer helmsman.
It is a gregarious species that seasonally alternates rhythms of social organization that go from the brigade (from one or more family nucleuses which can be associated single individuals not coupled) to the couple. More brigades can join in flocks of 15-50 individuals.
In spring the groups dissolve and the members are distributed throughout the territory in search of suitable sites for nesting, which takes place on the ground. Males become solitary and territorial. It is a predominantly monogamous species, although there may be cases of bigamy or substitution in the event that one of the members of the couple dies.
It feeds herbaceous and shrubby plants, parts of these as tips of leaves, buds, buds, fruits and seeds, but during the breeding period the diet is enriched by insects and larvae that provide an important protein intake, especially for females and for young people born.
Its elusive character and its perfect mimicry make the encounter with this galliform not easy. Skilled walker, she lives in environments of mountain prairies with outcropping rock; it moves on rocky slopes, between cliffs and precipices. It rarely falls below 900 meters; despite being a mountain species, it is not equipped in the presence of snow; it is more easily found on the sunny slopes exposed to the South, with lower humidity and milder temperatures. In the harshest winter months, it goes to downstream areas in search of food.
In our Park there are the only native populations of Coturnici of the Campania region. These populations are present in isolated nuclei on the Motola, San Giacomo, Faiatella, Alburni mountains, on the Cervati Massif.

The red-backed shrike is a bird of medium-small size, whose length from the tip of the beak to the tip of the tail is 16-18 cm.
In this species there is a marked sexual dimorphism. The adult male has a light ash-gray vertex and nape, a reddish-brown coat, a white throat, light pink lower parts with no stripes, a gray tail and a black tail with white sides. It also has an obvious black mask, which extends from the beak beyond the eye. The adult female has a less showy plumage, with brown or brown-gray vertex, more gray nape, less vivid brown coat of the male, greyish overhang and dark brown tail with narrow white margins. The young is rather similar to the female, but has more uniform and reddish upper parts, with a more pronounced scaling.
It is a territorial animal, it forms sparse or isolated couples, locally grouped in favorable areas.
It is a predominantly insectivorous species, preferring large invertebrates, especially Coleoptera, Orthoptera and Hymenoptera. Occasionally it also catches small vertebrates, such as small mammals (eg shrews and voles), birds (especially nestlings and juveniles), amphibians and small reptiles.
It is a species linked to the pastures and environments maintained by traditional agricultural activities, in fact it occupies open and semi-open areas such as shrubby prairies, large clearings, stable meadows, uncultivated and non-intensive cultivations, occasionally also vineyards and olive groves. It nests in open, uncultivated or cultivated environments, with abundant hedges, bushes, scattered trees and perches for hunting (wires, poles, etc.). Inhabits areas with a temperate, Mediterranean and steppe climate(16 ° C).
It breeds throughout Europe and spends winter in central-eastern and southern Africa.
In Campania it is a breeding migrant. The distribution in the reproductive period is wide and affects the entire regional territory, where there are suitable habitats, and is more frequent in the altitudinal range between 400 and 1000 m.
The red-backed shrike is decreasing throughout Europe, including Italy, with a contraction of area and local extinctions. Habitat destruction and deterioration are considered to be the main causes of decline of the red-backed shrike in Europe. In particular among the causes of decline of the shrikes there is the abandonment of agriculture and pastoralism in mountain areas, with consequent growth of spontaneous vegetation, and subsequent afforestation of the grassland areas and cultivated areas. Intensive agriculture conducted using non-traditional methods also leads to a reduction in environments suitable for the species.

Austropotamobius italicus is an Italian endemic species present throughout the peninsula excluding the north-western area, where Austropotamobius pallipes is present.
It is nicknamed “white-clawed crayfish” due to its characteristic coloration of the limbs and belly, in contrast to the rest of the body, which appears reddish brown to dark green, sometimes with lighter shades close to yellowish.
Particularly stocky and with a robust carapace, it can reach 11-12 cm in length and 90 g in weight. The males are larger than the females.
It lives in torrents and streams particularly oxygenated, with running water and limpid and bottoms covered with pebbles or silt. Being a cold-blooded organism, it prefers fresh water of about 15 ° C, with a maximum temperature of 23 ° C.
It proves to be particularly aggressive in the defense of its territory and in sexual struggles, as shown by the capture of specimens with partially or totally mutilated limbs or claws.
It is a typically nocturnal animal. It has an omnivorous diet: it feeds on algae, aquatic plants, worms, molluscs, insect larvae.
In the territory of our Park it is present only in the Bussento river. Its presence is a very reliable indicator of the healthiness and integrity of the environment. However, the species is considered endangered: the factors that most threaten its survival in Italy are the competition with alien species and organic and inorganic pollution.

Charpenteria ernae
This mollusk is an Italian endemic species and in the Park it is present in a small area in the South East of the Alburni Mountains.
It is a terrestrial Gasteropode and as such presents a soft, moist body, covered with mucus, distinct at the head, foot, mantle and visceral sac.
In general, the gastropods are provided with a shell; this is a calcareous secretion of the outer surface of the mantle, within which the animal can retract. The shell has a protective function and helps to avoid the desiccation of the animal. In some gastropods, the shell may be missing or reduced to a thin outer layer. When we observe a Gasteropode the shell is oriented by placing the apex upwards and the opening downwards, facing the observer.
In Charpenteria ernae the shell is left-handed, as the development of the coils occurred in an anti-clockwise direction; it is very slender, of a purplish brown color with white streaks, papillae and whitish dashes, irregularly arranged giving it a slightly speckled appearance and presenting 11-13 turns.
It is a hermaphrodite species, as it alternates over time the production of eggs and sperm.
The animal has a blackish dark gray coat, with lighter tentacles and foot.
It lives in calcareous environments, on rocks, and on limestone walls, with Mediterranean scrub.
Its feeding is not known, but it is assumed that it feeds on lichens, microalgae and perhaps also other molluscs.

Rosalia alpina
This large insect has an unmistakable appearance. Long between 15 and 40 mm, it is distinguished at first sight by the blue-gray and light-blue color with spots and black bands surrounded by a white line: this livery allows it to blend in with the light trunk of the Beech trees and the blue lichens that grow on it. It has long blue antennae with thick tufts of black hair at the apex.
It feeds on wood, alive or dead, the larva in particular feeds only beech and only occasionally of lime, maple and chestnut. The larva prefers the woody parts exposed to the sun, where it digs tunnels in the superficial area of ​​the wood. The development usually takes place in three years, in the recently dead or shabby trees, in the fresh trunks cut down to the ground recently or in the dead parts of healthy plants and also in strains.
Adults are active during the day on sunny days and appear in early summer, in June-July, on the same trees where the larva has grown, on the stacks of beech logs and even on piled timber, where they blend very well with the beech bark.
It inhabits forests and broad-leaved forests, in particular mature beech-woods, up to 2000 m s.l.m. but it can also be found at lower altitudes (500-600 m s.l.m.)
Among the threatening factors is the destruction of the habitat (mature and natural beech forests) due to the demolition of old plants and removal of dead trees or beech trees from the forest. Indiscriminate collection for adults can also be a threat locally.
In Italy it is present on the entire peninsular territory and in Sicily. For its conservation it is foreseen the preservation of the great old plants, dead or deperitated beech and in general of all deciduous trees.

Primula palinuri
The Primula di Palinuro is the symbol of the Park. Unlike the other primroses, which live in mountainous regions and prefer wetlands, P. palinuri lives in the cracks of the rocky walls, often overlooking the sea, along the coast that goes from Capo Palinuro to Scario; some stations of this primrose are also found in Marina di Maratea (Basilicata), and in the northern part of Calabria region. P. palinuri is a glacial relict: in the ancient geological past it was widely diffused, but after an ice age it almost completely disappeared, and to escape glaciers, it moved south and survived only where it is now possible to find it. Another characteristic makes P. palinuri unique: its yellow flowers bloom at the end of winter and can be observed throughout the month of February. The early flowering makes P. palinuri one of the few species available to the first pollinating insects.

Genista cilentina
This branchy shrub, with its beautiful and fragrant yellow flower, is a very rare endemism of the Park. It is a typical element of the shrublands of the Mediterranean scrub; it is a species adapted to the rocky substrates of the Cilento flysh series, but is also present on clayey and sandy substrates. There are four major stations of the species. In addition to the classic site consisting of Punta del Telegrafo in Marina di Ascea and the coastal and hilly area to the east of it, there is the hilly area south of the village of Pisciotta, the coastal and hilly area between the towns of Caprioli and the Salt pans of the village of Palinuro, and the hill in Zoppi between the municipalities of Montecorice and Serramezzana.

Soldanella sacra
Soldanella sacra is a local endemism of the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni, diffused only on Mount Gelbison, and is the only species of the genus Soldanella known today for the territory of Park. The species has differentiated from the Calabrian soldanella (Soldanella calabrella Kress) about 380000 years ago and occupies a unique ecological niche. Soldanella sacra is in fact associated with low-energy riverbeds, stillicidal rocks and resurgences, always under cover of broad-leaved trees (chestnut, Neapolitan alder, beech) that guarantee adequate light conditions. The stringent ecological needs of this species, together with the low genetic variability and the small number of individuals, grouped in 11 known populations, make this species particularly vulnerable, to the point of being considered critically endangered according to IUCN criteria, which makes it one of the species most at risk of extinction in the territory of the Park. Among the main threats to the survival of this species there are variations in plant cover, grazing and habitat destruction, both for natural and anthropic causes, which make urgent the application of adequate conservation strategies.

Minuartia moraldoi
This very rare seedling has been described as a new species only recently, in 2001, by the botanist Fabio Conti, who dedicated it to prof. Benito Moraldo, from whose collection were the samples he analyzed. This species lives only on Mount Gelbison, at an altitude of 1600-1650 meters in the fissures and small niches of rock walls of the Cilento flysch, inside the beech forest. Only one station of this plant is known; this only population of M. moraldoi is made up of about 200 individuals, distributed on two contiguous vertical walls, underneath the Sanctuary of Mount Gelbison.


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