Brief presentation of the site:

NATURAL AND ANTHROPIC SICILIAN ENVIRONMENTS

http://www.unict.it/dipartimenti/biologia_animale/webnatur/intro.htm

Angelo MESSINA

It is a site whose ambitious objective is to make a contribution in the field of environmental education by proposing a vast and articulate overview of textual and multimedial information in the field of Environmental Sciences paying particular attention to the natural and agricultural patrimony of Sicily and environment islands. To Internet navigators, the site immediately proposes the choice among different general thematic itineraries with the possibility of advancing towards higher, more articulate levels of specialization. All the levels of the complete site are interconnected so it is possible to move in all the directions. Care has been taken in the compilation of brief pages written with simple language with the dual purpose of not tiring the navigator but of catching his attention giving him the possibility to choose the direction and the level of specialisation at which he wants to stop. The site offers, besides a rich iconographic selection, selected not only according to aesthetic criteria but also with the clear intent of furnishing the tools for the consumers to identify the species of animal and plants discussed.

Principal itineraries

1.- Natural Environments. After having learned the essential characteristics, the navigator could go to visit the following natural environments: Woodlands, Scrub, Brush, Garighe, Steppe praries, Pastures, Lava and volcanic sands, Caves, Marine coasts, Rivers, humid environments, Headwaters, Lakes and ponds, Geotypes. For each environment the varied typologies are illustrated and the characteristic elements are indicated (fauna, flora, fossil remains, etc.) on which the consumer can, if he wants, deepen the subject. For example, from the page "Woods" in which the general characteristics of this environment are illustrated, the navigator could choose of visit different types of woodlands (of Quercus ilex (holm-oak), Quercus suber (cork-oak), Quercus virgiliana, Quercus congesta, Quercus cerris (turkey-oak), birch tree, Poplar aspen, beech tree (Fagus silvatica), Conifers, Platani, etc.) getting by and by information on the characteristic species, their location, etc.

2.- Sites of particular interest. The sicilian areas of distinctive naturalistic interest and/ or landscapes are proposed and the principal characteristics are illustrated.

3.- Anthropic Environments. As well as a brief synthesis of man's history, which furthermore could be better visited, the principal environments, determined by anthropic activity, are indicated. There is also the possibility of deepening notions of urban ecology and getting detailed general information on the fauna and flora in which they live, particularly: the fauna and the flora of parks, gardens, avenues, gardens, uncultivated areas, houses, walls, the local races of domestic and breeding animals, the animals for food-stuffs, the paper-eating animals, furs, skins, cloths, wool and wood, and the animals that parasitize man, domestic animals, and cultivations.

Within this itinerary it is also possible to visit the principal parks and gardens of the island and to learn the general structural characteristics, as well as the most significant vegetational essences.

Another big route within the anthropic environments is that of the cultivations (agro-ecosystems). It is thus possible to visit the more representative specialized agro-ecosystems in Sicily (citrus fruits, grapes, cereals, outdoor and greenhouse horticulture, etc.) some of whose principle characteristics are illustrated. From here it is possible to go to the sector that contains the typical sicilain agricultural products.

4.- Fauna. As well as a brief description of the animal groups (to the level of phylum and/ or class, order), a species checklist of Sicilian and its surrounding islands is furnished. For the species of particular interest, an informative card will be compilated on its taxonomic, biological and ecological characteristics. From these, it is possible to advance in the environment, or environments, in which it lives and vice versa.

From this itinerary it is also possible to look for information on the fauna of anthropic environments as well as that of economic importance.

5.- Flora. Similar to that of the fauna.

6.- Protected natural areas. This itinerary proposes a trip across the three regional parks (Etna, Madonie and Nebrodi) and to the nearly 100 Sicilian Natural Reserves of which there are different levels of knowledge in which information is given with rich iconographic aid for the cartographic localization, corporate body managers, regulations, fauna, flora, environments, etc.

This site has been conceived and organized by Angelo MESSINA, Professor of Zoology, Pietro PAVONE, Associate Professor of Applied Botanical Biology and by Fabio VIGLIANISI, biologist and computer technician. Many researchers of the Universities of Catania, Palermo and Messina, experienced in field studies, and also other corporate bodies (CAI, Speleologica Federation Regional Sicilian) have contributed to its contents. Technical contributions have been furnished also from the National Institute for the Wild Fauna and from the Publishing House, for example :  UTET, Scuola e Didattica, etc.

Translator: Gabriella Rains