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THE FOSSIL DUNES AND THE PSEUDO-STEPPE

The fossil dunes - formed between 100,000 and 6,000 years ago - are less than 200 meters from the coast, along the highway SS 379; they are an evidence of the displacement of the sea level and the coastline occurred over the centuries, due to climate changes. These ancient formations are covered by the Mediterranean pseudo-steppe, herbaceous association similar to the Eurasian steppe, which extends in a Mediterranean climate, over arid and stony soils. The pseudo-steppe takes root in places where even a small amount of land is deposited, while on the rock outcrops we can observe scaling of lichens, the first stage of plant colonization.

The plants development typical of this environment was favored by grazing and fire; if it remains undisturbed it evolves and turns into garrigue, scrub and then forest. Almost entirely arid in summer, fossil dunes appear flowery and colorful in spring. The flowering of wild orchids is very frequent in this habitat; among them there are rare endemic species of orchid, the erapias orientalis apulica, characteristic of the region. On the fossil dunes it is possible to find an habitat of great natural value consisting of scrub and garrigue, in which higher sclerophyllous scrubs,  are matched by a low scrubland consisting of shrubs to cover sparse and discontinuous, generally present on rocky outcrops.

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PARCO NATURALE REGIONALE "Dune costiere da Torre Canne a Torre S. Leonardo" - e-mail PEC parcodunecostiere@pec.it
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