2.8 Ravenna coast

On the coast of Ravenna there are still dune lines (Fig.1_Ses.2.8), some even 2 m high, and there are lagoon areas in some places backward, which are integral to the natural succession of coastal dunes. The dunes represent a natural defence against coastal erosion and an extraordinary landscape value.

FIG1_SES2.8 Ravenna dunes. Fondazione Cetacea

Another characteristic of this coast is the presence of wide strips of Wood Pine, planted by the ancient Romans to use the timber in the construction of their fleet. The wetland alternates with lagoon, a home for a great biodiversity, which is why many of these areas are part of the Po Delta Park. The wetlands are characterized by transitional waters, which are defined as coastal basins whose waters are in relation to the sea through a continuous flow and reflux governed mainly by the tidal cycles. They represent an extraordinary naturalistic heritage. There is an extraordinary quantity of organisms belonging to different taxonomic groups including porifera, cnidarians, polychaetes, molluscs and crustaceans. In recent years at the Baiona Lagoon (Video1_ses2.8), the sea horse has also been reported.

Baiona Salt Lagoon. Davide Briccolani, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdOuHKE4tFM

About 12 nautical miles off Ravenna coast, there is an important biological protection area called Paguro. It has been a Site of Community Interest (SIC: IT4070026) since 2010. From biological point of view is an area of fish repopulation (Fig.2_Ses.2.8), born from the remains of a drilling platform (Fig.3_Ses.2.8), inhabited by animal and plant typical of hard substrates. It is also a destination for researchers and divers.

FIG2_SES2.8 Paguro platform. By FederazioneDeiPianetiUniti – Opera propria, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30359254
FIG3_SES2.8 Paguro platform benthic life. By FederazioneDeiPianetiUniti – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30359273

2.8.1 Pine forests in literature.

From ancient years and in different civilizations, pine trees, symbolize life ,fertility, wisdom and longevity. Specifically, pine forests are often referred in literature and the authors use them as a symbol. They are used as a place where magical or even scary things can happen. These special places have a role in numerous cultures and folklore tales for centuries. The idea of an enchanted forest is one of the oldest in storytelling. It's a place where anything can happen. Take the Centaurs in Greek Mythology who used to live in the pine forests of Pileon, or Tolkien’s Mirkwood which was considered so magical that even the gods were wary of entering it. Do you remember the book of William Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night Dream"? A wedding took place and four guests got lost in a pine forest. Then, a fairy and his master took the opportunity to amuse themselves by bewitching them. The story continues with a crazy romantic mix-up. Furthermore, nowadays pine forests are used as a setting to lots of books, like the one of Tana French, "In The Woods". She took the idea of a creepy, dangerous place and made it the scene of children's murder place. From fairy tales like Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel to modern sagas like Harry Potter, the pine forest has become an essential element on the hero’s journey, a place of danger and adventure, as the trees bring out our primal side. As the earth’s forests continue to shrink, writers seem more and more likely to use them as an oasis of freedom from the oppression of civilization.

2.8.2 Wood Pines and their characteristics.

Pine wood comes from the evergreen tree called “Pine” which has a large lifespan of 100 to even 1,000 years and some even longer. There is quite a variety of them such as: “The Soft Pines”, “The Hard Pines”, “Southern Yellow Pines”, “Western Yellow Pines”, “Red Pines” and “Pinyon Pines”. The bark of most pines is thick and scaly, but some species have a thin, flaky bark. Nevertheless pine wood is considered to be softwood because of its light weight and relatively soft touch. Its strength and elasticity are really good, so it can be worked easily by hand or machine. It can be sliced, peeled, nailed, screwed and even glued whereas the surface can be finished with all kinds of paints. It is also widely used in high-value carpentry items such as furniture, window frames, paneling, floors, and roofing. It has no insect or decay resistant qualities, therefore it is generally recommended for indoor construction purposes only, though it needs to be correctly and carefully treated with strong preservatives in order to prevent rot. Furthermore, the wood can be used to make paper pulp in order to make paper; it also decomposes by using heat and pressure producing charcoal and pine tar which is used as a wood preservative, in roofing maintenance, and in treatments for skin diseases; it can be made into soaps and it is even applied to the handles of baseball bats to improve a batter's grip. In conclusion, pine wood is an affordable material that has a variety of applications including construction and maintenance, paper, charcoal and pine tar manufacturing. Pine wood therefore could be considered to be one of the most widely used domestic softwoods on the market!

2.8.3 Not only pines: what else grows in pine forests?

In pine forests many plants grow other than pine trees. One of those plants is the Acanthus syriacus. Acanthus syriacus is a perennial, Spiny, dissected and between 30-60 cm long. The flowers are bilobed, yellowish-white, arranged in a dense, brownish spike between 15-25 cm long. Each flower is subtended by a spiny bract. It blooms from March to May. Another plant that grows in pine forests is the Adonis microcarpa. Family: Ranunculaceae
Annual plant
Leaves: Alternate (one leaf per node), dissected, dissected twice or more, dentate or serrate
Flowers: Red, 5 to 8 petals, hermaphrodite
Flowering: February to April
Fruits: Apocarpic fruit; cluster of green achenes, which grow up to 3-4 mm each. Achenes are "monocarpellate" (formed from one carpel).
These plants grow in pine forests in Jordan. In Cyprus there are other plants that grow in pine forests the most important of them being the red mushroom. It is a mycorrhizal species that coexists mainly with pine trees, while it has also often been observed to be associated with various broadleaved species such as golden oak, kermes oak, strawberry tree, mastic, and terebinth. Other mycorrhizal mushroom species harvested are the white mushroom Russula delica and Tricholoma caligatum. Additionally, other known edible species are Acruicus sp., Pleurotus ostreatus and Morchela sp. Wild fruits such as berries and wild cherish also known as superfoods grow in pine forests. You can also find a variety of herbs and aromatic plants that are used for medical purposes and a variety of wild and rare flowers.

2.8.4 Pine forests, home of the Asparagus acutifolius (description and characteristics).

A pine forest is a light coniferous forest consisted of pines. Pine forests are widespread in the forest and forest-steppe belts of the temperate and subtropical zones and in the mountain-forest belt. Pines grow well in acid soils, some also on calcareous soils, most require good soil drainage, preferring sandy soils, but a few can tolerate poorly drained wet soils. Most specifically the zone that pines occur is called “Taiga”. The soil of the taiga is thin, poor in nutrients and acidic. The delicacy of the soil is largely due to the cold. The annual rainfall is small and the soil poor, although on the surface there are several fertilizers created by the pine needles and the dead pines. The soil is not permanently frozen, only in a few cases and to some extent from the surface.
Pine forests are considered the home of Asparagus Acutifolius. Asparagus Acutifolius, mostly known as wild asparagus, is an evergreen, perennial (it lives for more than two years) plant belonging to the genus Asparagus. These plants grow near woods and in uncultivated places, on dry and sunny soil. They can be found at an altitude of 0–1,300 meters above sea level. These plants are more specifically found in pine forests. The plant’s average height reaches approximately 30-70 centimeters. Its stems are much-branched with feathery foliage. The “leaves” are modified stems that, in fact, look like needles. The flowers are bell-shaped and in small clusters. They are greenish- white to yellowish and approximately 4.5 to 5.5 millimeters long. The flowers are dioecious (on each plant they are only male or female).

2.8.5 Pine forests, home of a variety of birds (describe one of your choice).

The forest in Urho Kekkonen National Park, Finland
The coniferous forest is the largest ecosystem in the world and is mainly dominated by pine trees. It is found in the northern parts of Asia, Europe, and North America and it makes up one-third of the world’s forests. The pine trees that grow there are home to a variety of birds because they largely include food, water, shelter and nesting areas. One of the most beautiful pine forests in Europe is in Urho Kekkonen National Park area, Finland's second largest protected area in the Northern Boreal zone. The dominant trees are pines and the forests' ground is thick and dense and includes species such as fern moss, dwarf birch, blueberry, marsh tea, lichens, heather, lingonberry, crowberry and the arctic bearberry. The Suomujoki river runs through, with a variety of small herbs dominating the various stream banks. There are some amazing, easily accessible hiking routes that crisscross the park and one can see old round-up fences and hole traps that the ancient Forest hunters Sámi scattered to capture the now extinct Wild Forest Reindee. A narrow belt of fell birch forest separates the pine forest from the open treeless fell tops. It offers a home to a wide range of migratory birds. Besides the fact that pine forests play a key role in global ecological processes since they keep carbon out of the atmosphere, preventing climate change from getting worse, the pine forest in Urho Kekkonen National Park is one the most beautiful old forests, a great place for hiking in the wild, skiing, biking or watching the northern lights and a natural habitat to a variety of birds. The beauty of old-growth forests and their vital importance is immense, therefore we need to appreciate and preserve them for future generations.

2.8.6 The Adriatic waters, home of a variety of fish(describe one of your choice).

The Adriatic sea is found mainly between Italy and Croatia. The Adriatic sea has a vast variety of fish and is a very beautiful place.

One of the species which lives there is the red porgy. It is very similar in appearance with common dentex.

This species is distinguished by the following characters:
Body oval, moderately deep. Head profile convex, slightly steeper in front of eye; 6 or 7 rows of scales on cheeks.both jaws anteriorly with large canine-like teeth, 4 in upper and 6 in lower jaw, followed by smaller and blunter canine-like teeth that become progressively molar-like toward the posterior third of jaws the 2 outer rows of strong teeth are flanked in the region anterior to the molars by several rows of very small teeth; gill rakers short, lower limb of first arch with 8 to 10, 6 to 8 on upper limb.
Colour: pink with silvery reflections, lighter on belly; head dark from nape to angle of mouth; sometimes, fine blue dots present on upper sides, particularly conspicuous in young individuals; often a somewhat darker area at pectoral fin axils; caudal fin dark pink, with both tips white; other fins pinkish
Found over rock, rubble, or sand bottoms (young frequently found on seagrass beds and the continental shelf (down to about 250 m depth, often above 150 m. In southwest Brazil found in 160 m depth Feeds on crustaceans, fishes, and mollusks . Its toxic nature is uncertai. Marketed fresh and frozen Reported weights of caught individuals were between 9 to 17 kg .
Protogynous hermaphrodite species. First sexual maturity occurs at 3 years of age (about 24 cm), first behaving as females and then as males. Spawning happens at 1 5-19° and it tends to be in spring, depending on the habitat

It is prevalent throughout the Adriatic region, but it is most common in the outer shores of Dalmatian islands, and it is extremely rare in west Istria.

2.8.7 The Adriatic waters, home of a variety of molluscs(describe one of your choice).

The Adriatic Sea is the most indented section of the Mediterranean Sea in Europe. In its present shape, it was formed by the rising of the sea level by 96 metres following in the last ice age. The Croatian Adriatic Sea covers over 35% of Croatia's total territory.In the East part of the Adriatic Sea a total of 113 species of living organisms were recorded, of which 15 are phytoplankton and 16 zooplankton 16 species of macroalgae are also 44 species of zoobenthic and 22 species of fish, of which 61 species are foreign and 52 are imported due to climatic change. I chose one of the mollusks of the Andrian Sea to describe and it is the ostreidae.The shell of ostreidae is uneven, uneven, with extremely variable shape depending on the substrate. It also has a round shape with extensive filling on hard substrates, oval smooth shell on soft substrates, solids with irregular margins in mini-reefs. The upper valve with a low round nose. The lower valve is larger, more convex and has a well-developed cavity that is much higher than that. Previous margin larger than posterior. The colors of the ostera shell are white with purple balls. The most common size is 80-300 mm in length and the excellent specimens can reach 400 mm. Osreidaes prefer shallow waters, muddy as well as rocky bottoms in protected areas, rarely on exposed shores. Extremely large shells are usually excavated in depths between 20 and 40 meters.Ostreidae is a nutritious foodstuff, with meat full with proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals like Ca, Zn, Mg and Fe and antioxidants.Most of the time consumed fresh and sometimes with a few drops of lemon juice, but also can be served cooked or baked depending on your preferences.The Ostreidae farmed in Croatia has almost completely disappeared from Europe. It can be found in the Mediterranean, Easter Atlantic and the Black Sea.