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Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

CAPO TESTA

Welcome to the Valle Della Luna Ecology website, aiming to catalogue & detail the variety of living creatures that exist in this newly formed Special Area of Conservation, with aim to enable effective future conservation. The Valle Della Luna, itself is an area in Capo Testa, comprising a number of valleys and coves which has historically been settled by various peoples throughout the ages (since sea levels decreased), mined by Romans, a quarantine for Plague Victims & more recently, since the 1960's inhabited by Hippies, Punks, a self-sustaining Community & Tourists . A Nuraghic settlement  (Lu Brandali) existed close-by (complete with Tomba di Giganti), inhabited between 16th-9th century BC, & the small village of Capo Testa on the penninsula is accompanied by a lighthouse, set on the Northern most point of Sardinia, constructed in 1845. The ensuing information focuses more on the natural qualities of the SAC as follows:

(either click on the heading to go straight to the specific section or simply scroll down the page, follow the link buttons to delve deeper):

Site Description - Classified Habitats - Wildlife Species - 

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Capo Testa Site Description:

A peninsula located at the north-western end of Sardinia, a few km west of Santa Teresa di Gallura in the Olbia-Tempio province. It was first proposed as a Site of Community Importance (SCI) in 1995 (in relation to the European Commission Habitats Directive) and designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) IN 2017. The island is connected to mainland Sardinia by an Isthmus (a strip of land with sea on either side, forming a link between 2 larger areas of land - in this case a bridge with 2 beaches and dune system), which at it's narrowest point does not exceed 100m. The SAC is characterised by the marked prescence in the landscape of particularly jagged and articulated coastal morphology, which is followed by long narrow coves, islands and islets, including a number of sandy beaches. The hinterland (inland) is also characterised by a considerable variety of forms typical of granite (Rosa-beta Biotite Granite). The highest points in the SAC are 'La Turri', also known as the Teschio (Skull) in the south-western part of the Capo Testa peninsula (127m above sea level) and M.Bandera (106m above sea level) west of the inhabited centre of Santa Teresa. It looks like Dali landed in a spaceship in places with anthromorphic & zoomorphic geology dominating the landscape.

Capo Testa SAC includes 18 EU Annex 1 Habitats, 13 Terrestrial and 5 Marine. On-land from cliffs, caves, dunes & wildflower grasslands to forest, macchia & gariga. In the sea, with underwater meadows, reefs, lagoons & rocky shallow bays. A comprehensive list of the habitats present is as follows:

 

(it must be noted: F6.1: Western Garrigue; Rosmarino-Cisto Gariga is not stated in official Natura 2000 documentation, but has found to be present during Valle Della Luna Ecology surveying).

Habitats present not covered by EUNIS classification (plagio climax - affected by humans):

  • Malva Stands (Malva veneta) - exhibiting high levels of Invertebrate biodiversity.

  • Sasaparilla-Lentisco Gariga - as a result of past deforestation.

  • Pump-room Intensive Greenroof - artificial habitat with Orchid population. 

If you would like more detailed information about the differing habitats, please visit one or more of the following:

MARINE HABITATS:

  • 1110: Sandbanks.

  • 1150: Coastal Lagoons.

  • 1160: Large Shallow Inlets & Bays.

  • 1120: Posidonia Beds.

  • 1170: Reefs.

         European Union Nature Information Service (EUNIS) Classified Habitats:

COASTAL DUNE GRASSLAND & SCRUB:

  • 1210: Annual Vegetation of Drift-Lines (Non-Fixed Vegetated Dunes).

  • 2210: Crucianellion Maritimae Fixed Beach Dunes (Fixed Grey-Dunes).

  • 2240: Brachypodietalia Dune Grasslands with Annuals (Fixed Dune Grassland).

  • 2230: Malcomietalia Dune Grasslands (Fixed Dune Grassland).

  • 2250: Coastal Dunes with Juniperus spp. (Coastal Dunes with Ginepro).

 

ROCKY OUTCROPS & CAVES:

  • 1240: Vegetated Sea-Cliffs of the Mediterranean Coasts with Endemic Limonium spp. (Vegetated Sea-Cliffs).

  • H1.1: Cave Entrances - 8310: Caves not Open to the Public (Caves). 

GARIGA, MACCHIA & WOODLAND:

  • 5210: Arborescent Matorral with Juniperus spp. (Arborescent Ginepro Macchia).

  • 5320: Low Formations of Euphorbia close to Cliffs (Coastal Elicriso Gariga).

  • 5530: Thermo-Mediterranean and Pre-Desert Scrub (Tree-Spurge Gariga).

  • 5430: Endemic Phyrganas of the Euphorbia-Verbascion (Sardinian Genista Gariga).

  • F6.1: Western Garrigue - Rosmarinetea Officinalis (Rosmarino-Cisto Gariga).

  • 9340: Quercus ilex & Quercus rotundifolia Forests (Holm-Oak Forest).

 

 

To access maps detailing location, in-depth climatic particulars, weather forecast, geological information, videos & photos of Capo Testa / Valle Della Luna, please take a look at the following sections:

Wildlife Species (Plants & Animals):

 There are approx. 150-250 vascular plant species  and many non-vascular plants, predominantly Lichens. 30 Endemic plants and 10 IUCN Red Listed species have been identified so far. For detailed information regarding exact species present see the:

A wide variety of Invertebrates inhabit Capo Testa, including Bees, Hoverflies, Butterflies, Moths, Flower Bugs, Beetles, Mantids, Grasshoppers/Crickets, Beetles, Ants, Spiders, Earwigs & many other weird & wonderful beasts. There are numerous Endemic species such as the Sardinian Striped Shieldbug, Bombus terrestris 'Sassaricus' & Bombus ruderatus 'Sardiniensis (Bumblebees), just to name a few, for extra info please take a look at:

Reptiles and Amphibians are present in the SAC in high numbers, the most common Reptile species being the adorable

 Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard (Podarcis tiliguerta) which can be seen scuttling over rocks looking for tasty insects and Wild Tortoises (Testudo marginata) slowly plodding about between stands of vegetation. There are approximately 13 IUCN Red Listed species. To see species profiles please visit:

Mammals are also present including Bats which can be heard echo-locating insects at night, Wild Goats roaming the rocks by the sea, Wild Boar are rarely seen but are apparent from the holes they dig during the night, to Weasels and Rodents hunting in the undergrowth. The Greater Horseshoe Bat is protected under the Nature Directives. For more info:

Many species of Birds can be sighted from Seabirds to Imperial Crows and Falcons soaring high above the valleys to many types of smaller birds feeding on insects and from seed bearing plants. 7 species listed in the Nature Directives are protected in Capo Testa. As below: