The Foresta Umbra Nature Reserve is a protected area located within the Gargano National Park. It extends in the east-central area of Gargano, about 800 meters above sea level.
The reserve covers an area of about 400 hectares. The forest was divided into four more or less concentric zones: zone A, zone B, zone C and zone D.
- Zone D: This area is that of greater tolerance from ambientalistico point of view, as it is the area of the countries included in the forest
- Zone C is forbidden entry to motor vehicles while being can move freely;
- Zone B then includes the most pristine part of the Forest Umbra, which is strictly forbidden to produce loud noises, yell, or have behaviors that can be perceived in some way the animal population;
- finally, the zone A is the hidden heart of the forest, is inaccessible to the public and will you play most of the animals.
La Foresta Umbra covers the municipalities of:
- Vico del Gargano,
- Monte Sant’Angelo,
Floristically there are three distinct zones: the top of the beech forest (84% of beech, to a lesser extent maple, hornbeam etc.). the intermediate one of the Turkey oak (oaks and other oaks about 45%, 21% beech, then hornbeam, maple, linden trees etc.) and bottom of the Mediterranean woodland with holm oaks and minor species.
Holm Vico del Gargano
A typical tree of the forest Umbra is the Vico del Gargano ilex, a tree nearly 300 year old site in front of the Franciscan church of Vico del Gargano. It is not known exactly when it was planted, but the only certainty is that the Friar who laid the seed (found near a abbeveratorio), Fra Nicola da Vico, died in 1719, in old age, from which we can deduce that holm oak is centuries old. In 1934, during a storm, a large branch fell, leaving a gap still visible today. The crown of the tree has also reached 50 meters and the circumference is about 5 meters.
Widespread in the Umbra Forest is the tree of yew (Taxus baccata). It is a tree that prefers to live in solitude from his peers, since its roots tend to choke the surrounding vegetation. The rate is also called the “tree of death”, since it is obtained a deadly poison, the tassina, which has narcotic and paralyzing effect on humans and some animals; It is deadly because even if ingested in small quantities blocks breathing. There is a legend that the tassina used by Prince Frederick II of Swabia to kill her awkward lovers. Despite the high dangerousness, tassina is derived from the drug tamoxifen. The rate has a particularly elastic wood formerly used for the production of the arches.
The Umbra Forest is home to a large number of animal species. Indeed, we can find hares, squirrels, pheasants and small rodents as well as wild boar, deer, woodpeckers and weasels. In the thick you can even spot the deer. Also common are deer, foxes, badgers and wild cats, these cunning predators and elusive habits. Many species of birds such as the crow, the magpie, the blackcap, the nightingale, the robin and the blackbird. There are many birds of prey and daytime as the sparrow hawk, the red kite, goshawk and the buzzard, and nightlife as the great eagle owl, tawny owl, the owl and the barn owl. Recently, some camera traps, placed in the inner areas of the forest have shown the presence of the Apennine wolf. In pictures you see a pair of wolves, of which the female, has swollen breasts, a sign that it is in the nursing period, and that is breeding puppies. The return of the wolf, not only on the Gargano, but even before the Murgia can be explained by the effectiveness of the protective measures implemented by the state they are doing greatly increase the wolf population who are looking for new territories to live.