Species and Habitat

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The species we aim to protect

Scopoli's shearwater

Scopoli's shearwater

Scientific name: Calonectris diomedea

Italian name: Berta maggiore

This seabird species nests almost exclusively on the cliffs of the Mediterranean islands. It is a migratory species wintering probably in the South Atlantic Ocean, in areas that are not yet fully known. It nests in Palmarola (100-150 pairs), Ponza (60-100), Ventotene (25-40), Zannone (24-30) and S. Stefano (5-10 pairs). Few pairs are also present on Gavi and the Faraglioni of Calzone Muto.

The period of presence in the Ponziane archipelago runs from February to November. Nesting takes place between May and October. During the transfer from the mainland to the islands and vice versa, this species can be most often admired while skimming the sea surface.

Yelkouan shearwater

Yelkouan shearwater

Scientific name: Puffinus yelkouan

Italian name: Berta minore

Exclusive of the Mediterranean, where it nests on coastal cliffs and islands. It remains in our latitudes during the winter although it is absent or very scarce in early autumn.

It nests on Palmarola, Ponza and Ventotene with about 10-30 pairs on each island, and on St. Stefano and Zannone with 1-10 pairs.

The period of presence on the islands is from November to June, nesting occurs between March and the end of June.

Mediterranean storm petrel

Mediterranean storm petrel

Scientific name: Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis

Italian name: Uccello delle tempeste

Endemic subspecies of the Mediterranean, nesting on the most inaccessible cliffs and in deep caverns. The difficulties encountered in the study of this species make it one of the least known. Some individuals are occasionally seen in the Ponziane archipelago, where a true breeding population probably became extinct because of the presence of rats.

The habitats we aim to protect

6220* Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals of the Thero-Brachypodietea

6220* Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals of the Thero-Brachypodietea

Xerophilous herbaceous formations dominated by annual plants (therophytes) that develop in environments with little soil and abundant detritus or rocky outcrops. They can represent primary vegetation or derive from the degradation of potential vegetation (evergreen oak woods and Mediterranean maquis). They occur in all the Ponziane islands, with limited and naturally fragmented extent, usually in mosaic with other Mediterranean vegetation types.

3170* Mediterranean temporary ponds

3170* Mediterranean temporary ponds

This habitat occurs in shallow depressions that collect a modest amount of rainwater during autumn and winter. Water evaporates quickly in spring or early summer, and few small plants can grow in these depressions when the soil is still wet. They are generally annual species (therophytes) or small perennial geophytes. Some of these, including species of the genera Juncus and Isoetes, are very rare and strictly linked to this habitat, which normally covers small areas.

In the Ponziane archipelago this habitat occurs over mostly flat terrains with a shallow soil layer.

5320 Low formations of euphorbia close to cliffs

5320 Low formations of euphorbia close to cliffs

Shrubland vegetation that colonizes the immediate vicinity of sea cliffs and forms the transition between cliff vegetation or clifftop phryganas and thermo-Mediterranean scrub. It is characterized by small shrubs, in particular Helichrysum litoreum and Thymelaea hirsuta. This habitat occurs in all the Ponziane islands, especially in Palmarola and Zannone.

5330 Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub

5330 Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub

This habitat encloses different Mediterranean formations and scrubland. It is quite common in Italy, with formations dominated by different plant species, depending on the local context and on present or past anthropogenic disturbances (fire, cutting, grazing, etc.). In the Ponziane islands communities dominated by Euphorbia dendroides, Chamaerops humilis, Ampelodesmos mauritanicus and/or Genista tyrrhena represent the most common aspects. This habitat occurs in all the Ponziane islands, especially widespread in Palmarola and Zannone.

1240 Vegetated sea cliffs of the Mediterranean coasts with endemic Limonium spp.

1240 Vegetated sea cliffs of the Mediterranean coasts with endemic Limonium spp.

This habitat encompasses cliffs and high coasts characterized by populations of halorupicolous species, which are adapted to the direct contact with seawater and marine aerosols, and capable of settling in rock crevices and fissures. The dominant species are Crithmum maritimum (sea fennel) and some species of the genus Limonium, many of them strictly endemic.

9340 Quercus ilex forests

9340 Quercus ilex forests

This forest habitat dominated by holm oak (Quercus ilex) is typical of the Mediterranean, but has almost disappeared from the small Mediterranean islands because of human impact. In Zannone it covers about half of the island, in Palmarola it occurs with three small fragments.

In the Ponziane islands, characterized by low rainfall, strong winds and shallow soils, the forests is composed by evergreen species, adapted to the typical Mediterranean climate. In most of the Italian territory, excluding Sardinia and the coastal areas of the southern regions, the holm oak forests are in general made also by deciduous trees. Therefore, although the habitat is widespread in Italy, the particular type occurring in the island of Zannone (and marginally in Palmarola) is quite rare at national scale and unique among the small Mediterranean islands.