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Type of protected area - Where it is located
Typology: WWF Oasis
WWF Lake Piana degli Albanesi occupies an area of 70 hectares in the northernmost part of the lake; was born in 1999 following the sale on free loan to WWF Italia of land owned by Enel. It is one of the five areas of environmental and naturalistic value that Enel has entrusted in management to WWF Italy on the occasion of the Oasis Festival in 1999.
WWF Oasis Piana degli Albanesi Lake (www.wwf.it/oasi)
The geographical area of the plain has been inhabited since 1488 by a large community of refugees from Albania, who emigrated following the advanced tirca in the Balkan peninsula. These were the foundation of the towns of Piana degli Albanesi and Santa Cristina Gela.
Linvaso, formed following the construction between 1920 and 1923 of a barrier on the right Belice river at the top of the ravine called Honi, covers an area of about 40 sq km and is used for drinking, agriculture and hydroelectric use. It is surrounded by a small mountain range of a mainly limestone nature whose highest peaks are the Pizzuta, Maganoce and Kumeta mountains. WWF Oasis is located in the northernmost part of the basin.
Flora and fauna
In the area there are significant testimonies of the vegetation that once characterized many wetlands of Sicily. On the edges of the body of water you will find the typical vegetation of the marshes and freshwater ponds, with the typhet and, in slightly deeper waters, the scirpeto. Adjacent to the banks the open pastures characterized by grasses of perennial grasses and Mediterranean meadows. Between the arboreal and shrubby vegetation, concentrated on the banks of the numerous streams that pour into the lake, specimens of red and white willow stand out, while the black poplar forms real groves together with tamarisks and Aleppo pine. The minor vegetation of temperate forests is also well represented, present with blackthorn and various species of rose.
The shores of the lake host, especially in winter, numerous species of water birds. The mild climate recalls coots, cormorants and ducks, to which are added pochards, ladles, whistles, mallards. During the spring migration you can easily spot pintails, garganeys and teals. Less nourished is the presence of birds in the summer, characterized by the nesting of coots and mallards near the banks and the samisommersi willows. Present all year round, hunting for carp found in the lake, are the great crested grebe and gray lairone. In the surrounding meadows, the small beccamoschino is widespread, while the song of the river nightingale resonates near the waterways. It is also easy to observe birds of prey from the mountainous circle that surrounds the body of water: the buzzard, the kestrel, the peregrine falcon, the golden eagle and, during the migration period, the osprey. Finally, there is the marsh tortoise, which lays its eggs on the more sandy shores, while the wild boar frequent the muddy pools extended at times along the banks.
WWF Oasis Piana degli Albanesi Lake (photo Nico Bastone www.nicobastone.com)
Information for the visit
How to get there: Management:
SSV Palermo-Sciacca, Altofonte exit, then following the signs for Piana degli Albanesi (20 km from Palermo); the lake is located shortly after the inhabited center. LOasi is open all year round and offers thematic and educational guided tours every day, by reservation. The visit lasts about an hour, on an entirely flat route. After crossing a coniferous and eucalyptus grove, you will reach the observation huts, where there are didactic panels.
WWF Sicily Section
Palma Piana Cooperative