Rio Bianco Natural Reserve

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

The Rio Bianco Bio Reserve is a protected area of some 940 acres in the municipality of Malborghetto-Valbruna (UD), at different altitudes between 2.395 ft and 6.233 ft. The middle stretch of the Vallone di Rio Bianco is included in this reserve.

It is a harsh and wild environment with steep slopes, screes and rocky cliffs made of dolomites, dolomitic limestones and different layers of limestone. Being such an impervious place, its flora has remained almost intact over the centuries – it’s actually one of the best-preserved in the eastern Alps.

The reserve is rich in water, with many springs that feed the Rio Bianco Torrent, as well as several waterfalls. The slopes of the reserve are covered with black pines (Pinus nigra) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvester). In the few sheltered niches, with richer and deeper soil, beeches (Fagus sylvatica), European spruces (Picea abies) and some broad-leaved trees are abundant.

The vegetation on the slopes of the reserve is quite dynamical and structured as a
pioneering plant settlement. The most common undergrowth species are Erica carnea, Poligala camaebuxus, Carex humilis, C. alba, Gymnadenia odoratissima (Manina profumata), Rhododendron hirsutum, shrubs, Pinus mugo and Salix glabra.

Frequent patches of grassland include Petasites paradoxus, Aquilegia einseleana, Hieracium porrifolium, Rumex scutatus, as well as many species usually found on rocky soil like Potentilla caulescens, Cystopteris fragilis, Carex brachystachys, and Daphne alpina.

Endemic species include Wulfenia carinthiaca, Euphorbia triflora, Viola rupestris, V. palustris, Saxifraga burserana, and Spiraea decumbens.

Rich and variegated, it includes chamois, deers, roe deers, foxes, martens, badgers, Alpine hares, squirrels, yellow-necked mice, common and pygmy shrews; among the birds, there are the western capercaillies, black grouses, golden eagles, owls, gryphons, kestrels, sparrowhawks, common ravens, alpine accentors, black redstarts, black and three-toed woodpeckers.

The reserve can be visited only for scientific purposes and with the local staff. Any such visit has to be authorized in advance, and all the requests have to submitted to the head office in Tarvisio.

The reserved is currently managed by the “UfficioTerritoriale per la Biodiversità” if the Carabinieri law enforcement agency (the national gendarmerie of Italy).

The reserve can be reached from the village of Malborghetto (UD).

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversità Carabinieri di Tarvisio , via Romana 35 - 33010 Tarvisio (UD)(UD)

+39 0428 644017

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