The inner regions of Corsica, especially this micro-region, are rural areas sparsely inhabited nowadays and so it is a natural area which has conserved most of its environmental richness. It is a major concern today to conserve this abundance for the sake of biodiversity. Preservation of the biodiversity also implies reasonable management of the species that are the main income of a fragile rural economy focused on green tourism.
Evisa village is committed to this objective of preservation, conscious of the fact that this heritage is also what helps to enhance the quality of its image.
Evisa’s emblematic endemisms
The village has varied fauna and flora including species endemic to Corsica, which means they are unique to a defined geographic location and are absent in other zones of the planet. Their endemism gives them their exceptional value. The following are the most representative but this is far from being a complete list:
The Corsican mouflon (a muvra)
The Corsican mouflon (Ovis gmelini musimon var. corsicana) is a subspecies group of wild sheep, probably from the Middle East that have inhabited the region since the Neolithic era. Its origin remains controversial.
The male, recognisable by its ribbed horns is an impressive animal which can weigh between 40 and 60 kg. They have white patches on their backs, their muzzles and sometimes on their legs. The females are smaller and can also have small horns. They weigh between 30 and 40 kg. They have a white patch on their muzzle which is in proportion to its age. The mouflon lives approximately 15 years. Mouflons live in flocks led by an elder female; they thrive in high mountain regions amid wooded areas and open rocky spaces between 2000m altitude and 500m in winter if the snow is very deep. Hence, their varied diet but they particularly appreciate herbaceous plants.
The inaccessibility of the environment in mountain zones because of the abandoned traditional faming is unfavourable for the mouflons. This is why actions are being undertaken within the European framework; ‘Life ’. Poaching is also one of the threats hanging over the evolution of the mouflon.
The Corsican Mouflon is registered in the annexes II and IV of the European Directive “Habitats-Fauna-Flora”. In Corsica, it has been forbidden to hunt it since 1953. Furthermore, since 1989, the introduction of any mouflons from the outside into Corsica has been banned.
The Corsican Nuthatch (a picchahjarina)
Passerine measuring around 11-12 cm, with a long, straight, narrow beak; it is closely linked to the Laricio Pine trees, whence the restricted number of couples. This species was tardily discovered by an English naturalist, John Whitehead.
The feathers of both the female and the male are blue-grey; the male is distinguished by a black skullcap. They like to evolve among plots of age-old trees rather than in younger forests where implantation varies between 700m and 1800m altitude. The nesting period spreads over April and May: the couple build their nest in dead or worm-eaten tree trunks, very often using the holes made by woodpeckers and the nest is made with pine bark and needles but also lichens, feathers and horsehair. The female lays 5-6 eggs and after hatching, both adults look after the chicks. The nuthatch eats insects and spiders, but it also builds up reserves, mostly of pine cones, for the winter and early spring when the snow limits access to food underneath bark.
The number of nuthatches was decreasing because of the number of forest fires but also due to the felling of dead trees which make up their favourite natural habitat.
The Corsican nuthatch is among the red list » of French nesting birds (2008) and that of the UICN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature)(Novembre 2011) (source INPN)
Evisa is a member of the Regional National Park
(Parc Naturel Régional de Corse) which has existed since 1972 and currently covers 40% of the island. As well as its contribution to economic development, the Park has another mission which is to preserve and enhance natural and cultural heritage. The PNRC is one of the local operators in the environmental field alongside other public regional institutions such as the Corsican Environmental Office (OEC), The Regional Direction of Environment, Construction and Housing (DREAL) and the village council.
Classifications and protection measures
Faced with such a diverse ecosystem and the presence of endemic species, protection measures have been set up at national and European level. Here are some of the actions and complementary objectives; which often overlap.
The European Union (EU) aims to maintain biodiversity by conserving natural habitats as well as wildlife and plant-life within the territory of its member states. An ecological network of special protected zones called «Natura 2000» was created for this purpose.
Part of the Aïtone Forest already figures in this network (Site du Massif du Cinto) but the boundaries will soon be extended to guarantee a better habitat management and protection of the rare Laricio Pine trees.
The interventions are funded by the Life Program. Among these regional operations, the Aïtone Forest is also subject to improvement work concerning the ecological environment of the Corsican Mouflon.
These are some protected animal and vegetal species present in the area :
Batrachians : discoglossus sardus, discoglossus montalentii, salamandra corsica, euproctus montanus
Reptiles : phyllodactylus, archaeolacerta Bedriagae, podarcis tiliguerta
Fishs : the local trout (salmo trutta)
Birds : accipiter gentilis, sitta whiteheadi
Insects : fabriciana elisa, papilio hospiton, rosalia alpina
Chiroptera (bats): rhinolophus ferrumequinum, myotis Bechsteinii, hypsuagosavii …
Plants : sphagnum, orchidaceae and rare mosses
Launched in 1982, the ZNIEFF inventory aims to identify and describe sectors presenting high biological capacities and a good state of conservation. Two different types of ZNIEFF can be distinguished:
Type I ZNIEFF : sectors of great biological or ecological interest ;
Type II ZNIEFF : large, rich natural spaces, largely unspoilt, offering significant biological possibilities.
In the village of Evisa, 3 ZNIEFF called Aïtone High Forest (1026 ha), Spelunca Gorges (903 ha) and Monte Cinto crests and unforested high slopes (31000 ha)
The ZNIEFF inventory concerns progressively the whole of French territories (Mainland, almost 15000 zones: 12915 of type I and 1921 of type II; Overseas territories, land and sea environments). A national modernisation (the update and harmonization of the method of realising this inventory) was launched in 1996 in order to improve knowledge, to conform to ZNIEFF identification criteria and to make the circulation of their contents easier. In 2004, nearly 2000 ZNIEFF had been modernised and nationally approved for three regions (Limousin, Normandy, Champagne-Ardenne).
Today, this inventory has become one of the major elements in nature protection policies. It must be consulted for planning projects (town planning, creation of protected environments, the drawing up of departmental schemes, quarry projects….).
Community Zone of Interest in Birds
A scientific inventory drawn up to implement a Birdlife International program aimed at taking inventory of the zones the most favourable for the conservation of endemic wild birds Like the Corsican Nuthatch or the Northern Goshawk.
The protection of their habitat is one of the priorities of this listing.