Trails 2018

In addition to the traditional Apennine Walk, 2018 took place the first transborder Trail that connected the Italian LTER Network with the Swiss one.

For three days, from July 20th to 22nd, citizens and researchers experienced ecological research firsthand, taking part in the Trail held in the LTER site of Monte Velino, Abruzzo.
The Trails route crossed the Monte Velino State Nature Reserve and the Sirente Velino Regional Natural Park. Two protected areas for the conservation of unique ecosystems, habitats, and beautiful species regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Organized by the Carabinieri Command for Biodiversity and Parks Protection (Biodiversity Department of Castel di Sangro), the walk covered approximately 30 km (mostly on foot), with an ascent of about 1500 meters and a descent of 1200 meters.

On the first day, the participants reached the LTER site of Velino-Duchessa at an altitude of 2100-2200 meters. On the second day, a BioBlitz was held. On the third day, the participants descended from the Velino massif along its northern slope, characterized by impressive glacial features.
During the 12 hours of the BioBlitz, participants engaged in scientific activities, including vegetation and microclimate monitoring, faunistic observations, and other environmental interpretation activities with ecologists, botanists, zoologists, and geologists.

The Trail took place from September 2nd to 5th, in the Central Alps, between the Val d’Ossola in Italy and the Canton of Valais in Switzerland, connecting the LTER-Italy of Lago Paione Inferiore, managed by CNR IRSA, to the LTER-Visp site of the LTER-Switzerland network, managed by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research (WSL).
The route altitude ranged from 700 to 2400 m above sea level. It crossed the Sempione Pass and partly followed the Stockalperweg, a historic commercial route between Italy and Switzerland.

The Trail touched an aquatic LTER site (Lago Paione Inferiore, a high-altitude alpine lake) and a terrestrial one (the LTER VISP site, an Alpine forest). Research in both sites is primarily focused on the long-term impacts of human activities on mountain ecosystems.
The participants walked through areas of high environmental and landscape value, and of historical-cultural significance (Stockalperweg Trail, Ecomuseum of Sempione).
On September 2nd, the LTER site of Lago Paione Inferiore organised an open day to engage the public in sampling and measurements on the lake. On September 3rd, the Trail began from Val Bognanco to Simplon Dorf through the Monscera Pass. On September 4th, starting from the Sempione Pass, through Bistinenpass and Gibidumpass, participants reached Visperteminen in the Canton of Valais, concluding the Trail on September 5th at the LTER Visp site.

Observations of natural landscape elements (alpine flora and fauna) were made during the Trail, including through mobile apps. Attention was also given to anthropogenic aspects and how human presence has modified the alpine landscape.

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