Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Welcome to the Valle Della Luna Ecology website, methodically cataloguing & detailing the diversity 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 mystical valleys and coves which have historically been settled by various peoples throughout the ages.. Mined by Romans for the high quality granite (the ancient port of Tibula), a quarantine for Plague Victims (14th-17th centuries AD), home to a Spanish watchtower on the highest peak & more recently since the 1960's inhabited by Hippies, Punks, a self-sustaining community & visiting tourists. A Nuraghic settlement (Lu Brandali) existed close-by, near to Santa Reparata complete with a Tomba di Giganti occupied by ancient Sardinian peoples between 16th-9th centuries BC. The small villages of Capo Testa & Funtanaccia are located on the penninsula & are accompanied by a landmark lighthouse set at the Northern-most point of Sardinia, constructed in 1845 & still in use to this very day, the light sparkling & flaring onto the age-old granite forms during stormy weather. The ensuing information focuses more on the natural qualities of the SAC, such as specific Tyrrhenian habitats and the endemic wildlife that lives within them, only in this unique & beautiful place. (either scroll down the page or click on a heading up above to go straight to the specific section.
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 (Relative 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, in this case a bridge with 2 beaches and a unique fixed dune system, forming a peninsula, rather than island technically (known as the 'Duo Mari') . The SAC is characterised by the marked presence in the landscape of particularly jagged and articulated coastal morphology, which is followed by long narrow coves, islands and islets, including a number of delightful sandy beaches. The hinterland (inland) also is characterised by a considerable variety of forms typical of granite (Rosa-beta Biotite Granite) in weird & wonderful shapes. The highest points in the SAC are 'La Turri', also known as the Teschio, or the Skull, in the south-western part of the Capo Testa peninsula (127m above sea level), & Mount Bandera (106m above sea level) west of the inhabited centre of Santa Teresa, not located on the island/penninsula. In reality, after reflection it looks like Salvidor Dali landed in a spaceship in many 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).
A lovely video portraying the magical awe of the Valle set to haunting piano music.
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.
1150: Coastal Lagoons.
1160: Large Shallow Inlets & Bays.
1120: Posidonia Beds.
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:
Capo Testa as seen from the Sky:
Some dude paragliding around the island (peninsula), He skirts the eastern side first, past the Roman columns & Tibula, onto the lighthouse (Faro) & old ecology centre, then by the 6th, 5th, 4th valleys (briefly) before we get tho the Valle Della Luna (1st Valle). He then makes an amazing turn around the 'Aliens's Head' to end up viewing the 2nd Valle (Cala di Mezzu), quickly giving a brief glance of Cala Grande (3rd Valle) & the Arse of Capo Testa (large rock formation). You then get a good look at the plagio-climax Sarsapailla-Lentiscao Gariga in the 3rd Valle (previously deforested by humans a long time ago). This is followed by quickly skirting over the 7th, 8th & 9th valleys towards the Calcarea Macchia coastline & Funtanaccia, before he ends up back on the Duo Mari. A complete circuit. Respect to the chap, thanks.
Views from on-top of the Teschio (Skull), down to the Valle Della Luna, up Cala di L'Eau (1st Valle). Followed by Cala Spinosa, the Lighthouse (Faro) & Cala di Mezzu (2nd Valle), Valle 5b lagoon & great drone-style fly-out from the Valle Della Luna towards the Tyrrhenian/Mediterranean sea.
Wildlife Species (Plants & Animals): Click to expand the image or use the buttons on the left to delve deeper to see all species.
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, Scorpions, 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, Pigeons & Blackbirds (Merlo) feeding on insects and from seed bearing plants. 7 species are listed in the Nature Directives and are protected in Capo Testa. As below (click the button):