Beech Woods

The most widespread woodland is the beech tree woodland: It covers the 30% of the total woodland surface area
(photo by: Nino Martino)

Beech woods are the most representative elements of the forest landscape of the Park. They are widespread at various altitudes: in the submontane belt (600-1,200m) the beech wood with Hop Hornbeam prevails, in the mountain belt (1,200-1,400m) the beech grows together with Silver Firs or alone, while in the high-mountain belt (1,400-1,600m) beeches can be found together with Norway spruces and Larches. In the most inaccessible areas there are primitive beech woods, where beeches grow together with Mugo Pines and Rhododendron hirsutum, a rhododendron species. In the Park there are beautiful beech woods in the areas of Ramezza, Zoccarè, Scarnia, Monti del Sole, Val Vescovà, and Conca di Cajada.
The species living in the undergrowth vary according to the kind of beech wood, but are usually characterized by a early blooming and prefer the shadow, giving the considerable covering offered by these woods. The wildest and most peaceful beech woods are the ideal habitat for the shy Hazel Grouse. Big trees house the Black Woodpecker, the biggest of the European woodpeckers. Its nests, carved into trunks, are often re-used by the Tengmalm’s Owl. The rests of dead plants offer a good habitat to species like the beautiful Longhorn Beetle, a rare beetle whose larvae exclusively grow in the wood of old trunks.