SANCTUARIES SPORT NATURE
NATURE - FLORA AND FAUNA

FLORA AND FAUNA

The Biella Province offers a wide range of different landscapes and environments  all contained in a relatively small area. It includes Nature Reserves and Protected Areas, gardens and parks, a heritage that is very interesting from a naturalistic point of view and a paradise for botany enthusiasts.
Regarding the fauna, because of the sheer range of different habitats in the area, it is possible, during excursions, to come across a remarkable variety of species, both wild and farm-bred. 

NORTH-EASTERN BIELLA AREA
FLORA
The vegetation is typical of Piedmont's mountain and foothills environment, with its broadleaf woods ( chestnut, beech, sycamore, ash, oak and birch) as well as conifers.
The natural silver fir wood situated near "Alpe Cusogna" in Upper Val Sessera is deserving of attention. Also noteworthy are several areas of great naturalistic interest due to the presence there of rare species such as the "Euphorbia carniolica", a species of spurge, in the mountain district of Val Sessera, the "Scopolia carniolica" on the slopes of the "Gemevola" mountain or the "Fraxinus Ornus", the "Erica cineria" (Bell heather) and the rare "Osmunda regalis" or "Royal fern" in the "Rive Rosse" zone.
The "Daphne cneorum" is also of importance and is abundantly plentiful from "Alpe Noveis" to the "Gemevola".
FAUNA
Over 60 species of birds nest in the higher part of "Valle Sessera" the most important of which include the Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia), the Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) and Tengmalm's Owl (Aegolius funereus). The Red deer was reintroduced to "Valle Sessera" in 1996 and the Chamois and Roe deer are to be found there in one of the highest densities of the western Alps.
Also very common are the Fox, the Badger, the Stone Marten, the Boar, the Marmot, the Hare, the Stoat, the Pine Marten, the Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix), the Snow Grouse and the Rock Partridge.
The greatest naturalistic jewels of Valsessera are a type of beetle, called locally "Boja d'or" and the Wood ant, both of which are protected species.

NORTH-WESTERN BIELLA AREA
FLORA
The vegetation is typical of Piedmont's mountain and foothills environment, with its broadleaf woods ( chestnut, beech, sycamore, ash, oak and birch) as well as conifers.
In the western sector of "Valle Cervo, along the crest running between the "Gragliasca" col and the "Gran Gabe", we find the only outcrop of limestone in the Biella mountains. In this area, botanical species exist which are unique to the Province, including Alpine Columbine, Edelweiss, Alpine Aster, Artemisia and the very rare Delphinium elatum (Larkspur), a member of the buttercup family.
FAUNA
Upper "Valle Cervo" includes the most extensive habitat of typical Alpine bird populations. The Snow Grouse and the Black Grouse build their nests along slopes and crests between "Monte Bo'" and "Monte Mars". In "Valle Elvo", thanks to its typical open areas and pastures, species such as the Rock Partridge, the Common Hare, the Quail and the now so rare Corncrake all make their home.
The Fox is common, as are the Badger, the Stone Marten, the Boar, the Marmot, the Mountain Hare, the Stoat, the Pine Marten and the Golden Eagle.
Chamois and Roe deer populate all the deep, narrow valleys of "Valle Cervo" and "Valle Elvo".
Small groups of Ibex, from "Val Sesia" or "Valle d'Aosta", can be observed along the crests of "Monte Mars" in "Valle Elvo" and "Monte Bo'" in "Valle Cervo".
The Red deer is beginning to colonize, in small numbers, the areas of "Valle Cervo" adjacent to "Valle Sessera". 

SOUTH-WESTERN BIELLA AREA
FLORA
The vegetation is typical of Piedmont's mountain and foothills environment, with broadleaf woods (Chestnut, Beech, Sycamore, Ash, Oak and Birch) and conifers side by side with moorland and shrubby areas.
The small, lateral valleys down which the tiny tributaries of the Elvo River run, are characterized by patches of dense, bright green vegetation, made up also of Hazel groves, White Alder, Sycamore and Ash, Black Alder, Elder and Willow.
Patches of shrub, present also near water courses, are composed mainly of Ferns, Broom and Bilberry.
Close to the reforestation area on the "Serra", we find oak groves containing Sessile Oak, Common Oak and Hornbeam and where the Chestnut appears in greater abundance next to the Ash-sycamore secondary forest. False Acacia is found, in particular along water courses, but the invasion of this species is still greater close to and in the plain, to the detriment of pre-existing woods.  
FAUNA
Compared with other valleys in the Province of Biella, the "Valle Elvo" is that which has best conserved its open spaces and pastures, thus favouring the presence of species such as the Rock Partridge, the Common Hare, the Quail and the now extremely rare Corncrake- all species associated with the cultivated areas of mid-mountain altitudes. Also common are the Fox, the Badger, the Stone Marten, the Boar, the Marmot, the Mountain Hare, the Stoat, the Pine-Marten and the Golden Eagle.

CENTRAL-EASTERN BIELLA AREA
FLORA
The area is characterized by a variety of different environments: from the chestnut woods to the moors of the "Baragge", from the arid ridges of Curino to the nurseries of Valdengo and Vigliano and to the magnificent pastures between Piatto and Quaregna.
The principal vegetation consists of chestnut woods, together with other varieties of vegetation: the environment of the "Baragge", consisting of grasslands and moors; the scattered groups of shrubs that characterize the "Rive Rosse", including the presence of species such as the Manna Ash as well as pioneer trees like the Aspen and the Birch; and lastly, the woods where Sessile Oaks and imposing Common Oaks abound. It is also worth noting the presence of species unusual for these zones such as the Beeches of Castellengo and the Turkey Oaks or the great Plane trees, along the banks of the Ostola.
The "Baragge", being a relict of the Ice Age, also includes in its vegetation some species not common to the zone, but typical of very cold climates, such as  the Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica), the Yellow Day-lily (Hemerocallis lilio-asphodelus) and the Marsh Gentian (Gentiana pneumonante).
FAUNA
Among the wild animals, the most diffuse are the Boar, the Roe Deer, the Hare, the Badger, the Hedgehog, the Weasel and the Fox. The area is rich in birdlife, especially in certain districts like the "Pianetta" of Cossato, the "Rive Rosse" and the "Baragge".
As regards insects, although they are harder to observe, the "Baragge" presents several species which would be difficult to find elsewhere, such as the Agonum livens, the Agonum ericeti, the Bembidium humerale and the Fissocatops westi.
Finally, we can also find two species  of Butterfly, the Coenonynpha oedippus or "Nymph of the marshes", in danger of extinction in Europe, and the Maculinea alcon (which is closely linked to the Marsh Gentian).

SOUTH-EASTERN BIELLA AREA
FLORA

In the area of the "Bessa" we have the appearance of lichens and mosses, followed by ferns, heather and shrubs like the Mountain Ash (Rowan), the Privet and the Blackthorn. The Oak is the predominant tree but others are not lacking, such as the Wild Cherry and also the Bird Cherry with its clusters of berries, the Birch, the Ash, the Chestnut and the Hazelnut.
The typical vegetation of the "Baragge" environment consists of grasslands and moor with mainly tall grasses such as Molinia, Heather and Bracken Fern. Species rare to this zone, being typical of much colder climates, can also be found, such as the Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica), the Yellow Day-lily ( Hemerocallis lilio-asphodelus) and the Marsh Gentian (Gentiana pneumonante).
FAUNA
Among the common wild animals present are the Boar, the Roe Deer, the Hare, the Badger, the Hedgehog, the Weasel and the Fox. The most common birds, particularly in the "Bessa", are the Woodpecker, the Jay, the Buzzard, the Tawny Owl and the Nightjar, an interesting bird which can be seen at dusk.
As regards insects, although they are harder to observe, the "Baragge" presents several species which would be difficult to find elsewhere, such as the Agonum livens, the Agonum ericeti, the Bembidium humerale and the Fissocatops westi.
Finally, we can also find two species  of Butterfly, the Coenonynpha oedippus or "nymph of the marshes", in danger of extinction in Europe, and the Maculinea alcon (which is closely linked to the Marsh Gentian.