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An interactive guide to the woody plants
of the Gran Sasso National Park (Central Italy)

Pier Luigi Nimis, Fabio Conti, Fabrizio Bartolucci
Daniela Tinti, Nicola Ranalli, Aurelio Manzi
Images by Andrea Moro et al.

The National Park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga (C-Italy) is probably the European protected area with the largest number of plants in its territory: 2364 infrageneric taxa. This number, albeit slightly, is expected to grow, as the floristic exploration in unexplored areas of the Park and the constant advancement of plant taxonomy always reserve new surprises.
Of the surveyed species, 210 are woody plants, those which first attract our attention, because of their size and also because, unlike others, contribute to the appearance of vegetation or even of the landscape. These are the plants which are more related to the mountain and rural economies of the Park, to the rituals and traditions of the local population; and these are the plants which often attract first those approaching for the first time the world of Botany, trying to identify them, i.e. to give them a correct name.
The Park Authority, with the intention of bringing as many people as possible to the knowledge of the area and its biodiversity, has decided to put at the disposal of students, hikers, and tourists, a rigorous scientific tool which is also easy and intuitive to use, and which allows you to identify, through easily observable characters, all the woody species of plants that live in the Park.
Using this guide, created in collaboration with the University of Trieste (Dryades Project), anyone can have fun picking an unknown species, and following the path proposed by the key.
The Park Authority has also prepared 2 didactic courses where you can 'play the botanist', based on this guide. At the Park Visitor Center located at Accumoli (RI) and at the Research Center of the Apennine Flora in Barisciano the interactive guide can be used with the help of modern stereoscopes that allow the observation of microscopic characters.
The guide is available in several versions for several media (internet, printed paper, CD-Roms, pocket-PCs, smartphones).

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