South Apennine mixed montane forests
Altitudinal forest zonesEdit
Wide altitudinal range results in several forest zones.
At lowest elevations the forests are characterized by the dominance of sclerophyllous evergreen oak Quercus ilex and Quercus suber, coniferous Pinus pinea (Italian Stone Pine), and deciduous Quercus pubescens, Fraxinus ornus, Ostrya carpinifolia forests.
At high elevation altitudes there is a north-south slopes gradient of plant communities:
- South-facing plant communities: On south-facing slopes with cold and dry climate Pinus laricio is the dominant species. Pinus laricio is also found on Mount Etna up to the timberline along with the Etna birch Betula aetniensis. Pinus heldreichii leucodermis is found only Pollino Mountains.
- North-facing plant communities: On north-facing slopes Silver fir Abies alba and beech Fagus sylvatica mix with Pinus laricio. Relict stands of the endemic Nebrodi fir Abies nebrodensis appear in the Madonie Mountains. The Etna summits is characterized by a shrub community of Astragalus siculus, Berberis aetnensis, Juniperus communis alpina and the Etna tree-broom Genista aetnensis.
- "South Apennine Mixed Montane Forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.