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Collemeluccio-Montedimezzo Alto Molise Biosphere Reserve, Italy

The Collemeluccio-MontedimezzoBiosphere Reserve is located in the Isernia (Molise) province in central Italy. It encompasses two forests covering 637 hectares in a sub-mountain area. The Penna Mountain (1,277 metres above sea level) and the ‘Colle San Biagio’ border the area to the east and the west. Of the two forests Collemeluccio has smoother and lower reliefs (1,080 metres above sea level).

The main habitats include silver fir forests, mixed forest of silver fir and turkey oak, turkey oak forest with coppices of hornbeam, hash, field maple and stone, and beech forests. Silvicultural intervention has been undertaken to replenish turkey oak stands. Phytosociological and entomologic analysis has also been carried out.

Small villages are spread across the biosphere reserve, with many people commuting to the town of Molise. The main economic activities are agriculture, breeding and traditional handicrafts. The area is also subject to tourism. 

Designation date: 1977


Regional network:  EuroMAB

Ecosystem-based network: Mountains




    Surface : 25,268 ha

    • Core area(s): 1,054 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 7,973 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 16,241 ha

    Location: 41°44’10”N – 14°16’44”E

    Administrative Authorities

    Dr. Armando Cardillo
    Corpo Forestale dello Stato
    Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversità di Isernia
    Via Bellini 8/10
    86170 Isernia

    Tel.: +39 8653935

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    Ecological Characteristics

    The landscape of the area is characterized by a sub-mountain range with a variety of reliefs and lacustral and fluvial plains. The major rivers are the Sangro which runs through the north-west of the reserve, the Trigno which borders the Collemeluccio forest (both flow to the Adriatic sea), and the Vandra which starts near the Montedimezzo forest and flows into the Volturno river basin (Tyrrhenian sea). There are more than five freshwater springs within the reserve.

    The main habitat of the biosphere reserve is forest cover characterized by Silver fir stands (70%) and Turkey oak stands (30%) in Collemeluccio, and Turkey oak stands (45%) and beech woods stands (45%) in Montedimezzo. In 2006, flora relives were conducted in the two core zones with a collection of 377 entities of vascular plants, divided into 75 families and 240 genera. The Eurasiatic chorotype predominates (29%) while Eurimediterranean, Oriental and Boreal chorotypes occur in significant numbers (approximately 14%).

    In 2007, a survey recorded 37 species of bird fauna in the Montedimezzo forest and 32 species in the Collemeluccio forest. Among the vertebrates listed in the annexes of the EU Habitat Directive, the spectacled salamander (Salamandrina terdigitata), Italian stream frog (Rana italica), grey wolf (Canis lupus), and the European polecat (Mustela putorius) were also recorded.


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Demographic developments in the area surrounding the reserve have followed a trend of impoverishment typical of the inner mountainous areas – a phenomenon that began at the beginning of the post-war period. Artisanal and commercial activities are limited, but accessible forms of tourism are present (B&B, agritourism, rural tourist facilities) and have not had a strong impact on the territory.

    Municipalities within or neighbouring the core areas of Montedimezzo (Vastogirardi and San Pietro Avellana) and Collemeluccio (Pescolanciano, Carovillli, Pietrabbondante and Chiauci) and the nearby municipality of Roccasicura are Mediaeval in origin (Lombard period) and remain almost unspoilt.


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    Last updated: April 2019