The municipality of Tremiti Islands is located about 12 miles north of the Gargano. It consists of three major islands (San Domino, San Nicola, Caprara) an islet located between the three islands (Cretaccio), and a smaller island (Pianosa), not affected by the project.
The system of the Tremiti Islands, as well as by the geomorphological uniqueness, is characterized by an articulated mosaic in which the stable biocenosis of the Aleppo pine forests can be distinguished extended over a large part of San Domino; scrub formations at different evolutionary levels and a modest nucleus of forest in Quercus ilex (not indicated as a habitat but of considerable importance for the understanding of potential evolutionary phenomena); cliff formations with halophilic and halophilic suffrutics -rich in endemisms-; garrigues and arid pastures derived from the processes of colonization and agro-silvo-pastoral abandonment, of considerable importance for the flora.
The islands are also characterized by the presence of breeding colonies of important seabirds at the Mediterranean level and by the abundant passage of migratory birds that use them as resting and foraging areas.
The SPA is covered for 10.6% by human settlements, 9.6% by heterogeneous agricultural areas, 40% by forests (almost exclusively pine forests), 31.8% by garrigues and arid grasslands, 8.1% by rocky coasts.
The area of the Gargano National Park is characterized by the presence of the alien species Senecio inaequidens in ruderal situations near the roadsides and the railways. Currently the South African senecione is not found in habitats protected by the Directive, but given the strong invasive capacity of this species there is a real risk that, in the absence of eradication actions, it may invade future the surrounding arid grasslands in the near, in particular habitat 62A0 “Dry grassy formations of the eastern sub-Mediterranean region (Scorzoneretalia villosae)” and the priority habitat *6210 “Semi-natural dry grassy formations and facies covered by bushes on calcareous substrate (Festuco-Brometea) with beautiful orchid bloom”.
The risk for the habitats is very high due to a possible future spread of the species, as it is linked both to the loss of value of environments where the characterizing native species are partly replaced by an invasive alien species, and because this species is toxic to domestic livestock and can be a cause or co-cause of abandonment phenomena that put at risk the long-term permanence of prairie habitats. Since these are very large areas of the habitats, which also extend outside the Natura 2000 Sites, their importance at regional, national and community level is to be considered high. Their extension is what also allows the presence of important populations of animal species of community interest linked to steppe environments.
The project areas, like the entire terrestrial part of the Site, are entirely included in the Regional Natural Territory Park” Coastal Dunes from Torre Canneto Torre San Leonardo”. The land area of the ZSC (415ha) consists of 22.5% areas of natural interest, 66.7% agricultural areas, 6.9% service facilities for the use of the coast, 3.3% areas of road infrastructure and 0.6% residential areas. Most of the areas (88.4%) are privately owned, with the exception of the areas (2.7%) acquired by the Municipality of Ostuni for the realization of various projects aimed at protecting biodiversity and sustainable use of the Coastal Dunes Park (naturalistic recovery with use of the wetland andre-functionalization of the ancient aquaculture plant of Fiume Morelli, demolition of illegal beaches and construction of the “Casa del Mare” visitor center, redevelopment of the former quarry of Pezza Caldara), and of the areas of competence of ANAS (3.5%). State-owned areas are limited to an arrow coastal strip and the bed of public waters (5.4%).
It is a site that extends mainly into the sea. Its terrestrial part consists of a belt of sandy coasts with dune and back dune environments, often in contact with tourist settlements, and it extends in the interior in a limited area characterized by arid grasslands. The dune and retrodunal habitats present in the SIC Litorale Brindisino appear to have a wide conservation value in a community sense, as the floristic communities present there frequently have an endemic character with respect to the phytogeographical context of reference. By virtue of this, the project assumes conservation relevance as the control of the IAS will favor the preservation of the floristic peculiarities intrinsic to the habitats of Community interest subject to intervention. The project assumes a demonstrative character of extreme value as it will allow to acquire important information on the invasion of the site by Callinectes sapidus, a benthic species primarily predatory, which threatens two species of community interest present in the area: the European marsh tortoise (Emys orbicularis) and the ninth (Aphanius fasciatus).