The Rocky Environment

In the Rhaetian Alps, this environment may be considered a transition between woodland and agricultural land. It is characterized by the presence of plants from warmer, Mediterranean climates, which have settled in these particularly dry and sunny surroundings. The soil is shallow and at times absent, so plants such as mosses, several grass species, succulents and lichen survive. The fauna of these areas consists largely of reptiles and invertebrates.

Kestrel (Falco tinninculus)

Diurnal bird of prey which nests in old crow or magpie nests, on rocks, or occasionally in tree crevices. It drops vertically to capture mice and large insects.

Shrike (Lanius collurio)

Diurnal passerine which lives in bushy areas, or open country with bushes (where it nests) and infrequent trees. It is a bird of prey and often impales captured prey on the spines of shrubs, which serve as food stores.

Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)

Small diurnal insectivorous bird which lives in open country with bushes. It nests near the ground, on low vegetation.

Coluber (Coluber virdiflavus)

A diurnal ground-dwelling reptile, which likes dry places with vegetation and is very rapid and agile, hunting by sight. Its preferred prey are lizards and small mammals, as well as nestlings, snakes and frogs.

Grasshopper (Oedipoda caerulescens)

Diurnal insect, frequently to be found (from June to September) in dry and sunny environments. It eats mainly plants.

Weasel (Mustela nivalis)

A carnivore which is active by day and night. It occurs everywhere, even in areas with scarce vegetation, and preys especially on voles and field

Wall Lizzard (Podarcis muralis)

A diurnal reptile which climbs frequently and is seen on field and garden walls and rock faces. It eats mainly invertebrates.

Green Lizzard (Lacerta virdis)

Diurnal reptile found in areas with bushy vegetation at the margins of woods or fields. Its diet consists largely of invertebrates, but also includes fruit, and eggs and nestlings of small birds.


Lichens are the result of a “collaboration”, or symbiosis, between an alga and a fungus; these two organisms live together, each making up for the shortcomings of the other. The fungus, in fact, is a heterotrophic organism – it cannot sustain itself and grow by synthesizing organic substances, whereas the alga is autotrophic – it is able to produce immediately available energy by means of photosynthesis. The fungus, therefore, exploits the capacities of the alga which, in its turn, is provided with a substrate on which to grow and enjoys protection from the risks of dehydration posed by terrestrial life.

Fruticose lichens
Encrusting lichens
Leafy lichens