Fondo Toce Natural Reserve

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Established in 1990, the Fondo Toce Special Nature Reserve covers 902 acres along the final stretch of the Toce River, before entering Lake Maggiore, in the Municipality of Verbania.
It is a highly urbanized area, therefore the protected reserve represents the last pristine and untainted wetland, extremely rich in biodiversity.

Flora and fauna

The most important environment is the wetland, which features some 74 acres of reeds – one of the largest around lake Maggiore. Phragmites australis is extremely abundant and offers an ideal ecosystem for the reproduction of numerous lake fish and for the nesting and wintering of a hundred species of birds; it also acts as a “green filter”, as the reeds absorb several polluting substances, contributing to the purification of the local water.

The Reserve also includes narrow strips of riparian vegetation with willow trees, enriched by a remarkable variety of flora: about 240 species have been recorded so far, including willows, rare ferns and an endemic water chestnut variety (Trapa natans “verbanensis”).

Regarding the local fauna, many lake fish live here, including carps, pikes and tenches; there are also several reptiles, including marsh turtles, grass snakes, green whip snakes, green lizards and slow worms. Amphibians are mainly represented by green frogs and crested newts, while mammals include foxes, badgers, stone martens, and weasels.
Insects are abundant as well, but above all, there are many birds, sedentary and migratory: for this reason, the Center for Studies on Migration has been recently created right inside this reserve: it’s a fully equipped ringing station with a huge quantity of nets.

A flat trail, about one hour long, runs on a floating walkway across the lake (about 985-ft long), leading to the most hidden and evocative places in the reserve; this path is also ideal for observing the wild animals. At the Park offices, in Fondotoce, information material on the reserve and the migrations of birds is available for the visitors.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)



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