Risorgive di Flambro
The Risorgive di Flambro (Flambro Springs) biotope, occupying 73 hectares, was created in 1998 and falls completely within the municipality of Talmassons. lt is located next to the Risorgive di Virco, with which it once formed an ecologicaI continuum. The area lies just below the line of springs: the abundance of water has overtime generated a rich network of surface water and a system of wet habitats. Habitats typical of the Friuli springs system are present, and at times very widespread. Cladium beds are found around the pools andmost saturated areas, and there are low alkaline fens dominated by Sehoenus nigricans and rich in endemisms; wet meadows dominated by Molinia caerulea are rare, being the first to be transformed into cultivated land. ln some areas Bromus grasslands are still present: this habitat extends in the upper areas or those better drained, owing to the grave I subsoil. There are also edge strips of wooded areas, dominated by black alder, created fairly recently. The agricultural landscape surrounding the area has in some cases kept its traditional layout of enclosed fields.
There is a rich abundance here of special flora. The most notable species include Armeria helodes, Erucastrum palustre, Gladiolus palustris, Euphrasia marehesettii, Liparis loeselii, all listed in Annex II of the Habitat Directive, the rare orchid Spiranthes spiralis, as well as many glacial relicts, as Primula farinosa, Parnassia palustris, Gentianaverna and Drosera rotundifolia, making this one of the richest areas of this lowland region.
A great amount of species characterizes the fauna of the spring area. Notable examples of the reptiles here include the relict populations of the common lizard (vivipara), a microtherm species, which in these environments must truly be considered a post-Wurmian glacial relict. The viper is still widespread in the areas, with populations that are now isolated and therefore at particular risk. Snakes present include the Aesculapian snake and the smooth snake, while the presence of the fresh-water turtle here is of particular Community interest. Amphibians to be found include the particularly widespread Italian agile frog, a species endemic in northern Italy. Many other amphibians live in the stagnant waters, for example the crested newt and the yellow-bellied toad.
The site also offers considerable ornithological interest, with the presence of many important species in areas that, despite being fragmented, play a vital role of shelter within territories subject to intense anthropic pressure. Of particular note is the presence of various ardeids such as the purple heron, little bittern (also nesting), night heron, great bittern, great egret and little egret. Birds of prey include the hen harrier and Montagu's harrier, the marsh harrier and many others. With the otter extinct, the main mammal here is the "puzzola" (a type of polecat), a carnivore whose populations everywhere are in sharp decline.
Rodents here, in the wettest parts, in sizable populations include the water vole as well as the harvest mouse with its delicate nest built on the top of Cyperaceae and Graminaceae stalks. The water shrew is also very widespread. The presence of the freshwater crayfish should also be noted, a species of Community interest.
In the heart of the biotope there is a very varied and well-protected environmental system. Over the last years, management and restoration work has been carried outin formerly cultivated areas. These are concentrated in the Mulino (mill) area; the goal is to extend the natural habitats and protect the heart of the biotope.
Today, the biotope has a specially built circular pathway that allows the main areas to be visited and appreciated; the circuit starts from the Mulino, which is due to become the area's visitor centre.