The shrub areas represent a transitional zone between wood and more open environments. In some cases, they form "islands" within meadows. The hedges have a more linear structure. They can grow spontaneously, and in this case, we talk about natural hedges that are made up of many species of local shrubs and individual trees, or they are planted by man as a fence. At this stop the shrubby areas and the hedges are mostly made up of Hazels with the occasional Ash in between. Even though this area does not offer a very rich variety of vegetation, it still has an important ecological role to play.
The particular structure of shrubby areas and hedges with its particularly tangled vegetation, is very important for the survival of its fauna. These environments allow the fauna to move from one area to another, permitting genetic contact and exchange between different populations (link role) Moreover, they reduce the fragmentation of the ground and provide nesting sites for many birds of this region, as the Wern, the Greenfinch, and the Goldfinch. Along with this, the environment offers refuge to a great number of animal species, for example the Hare, the Weasel, small mammals, such as the European Pine Vole, the Shrew and the Woodmouse. Here, reptiles like the Rat snake, the Green lizard, the Slow worm, and amphibians find food and protection. This environment is also an important source of food for many pollinating insects.
The open area is also characterized by the presence of many solitary trees. In particular we can recognize some imposing specimens of Cherry, Cypress Oak, Wild Lime, and Chestnut. In the past these trees were used as a source of food for man (chestnuts and cherries), fodder for domestic animals (Oak) and bedding for plants. With the increasing reduction in rural activities, those trees lost their use for man, but have maintained another important function. A specific animal community is associated with each tree species and this is also the case regarding solitary trees and trees that grow away from their similar. The animals belonging to these communities are inter-dependent and form the links of the food chain. Therefore, every tree can be considered as an ecosystem of its own. Here animals like the Fat Dormouse, the Squirrel, different Bat species and birds, as well as a high number of insects, find a place of refuge, find food and reproduce.
The Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
Stage 1: Well and "Riaron"
Stage 2: House of Reason
Stage 3: Graad
Stage 4: Cassinel
Stage 5: The mixed broadleaf woods
Stage 6: Geological oddities
Stage 7: Mill and bridge
Stage 8: The glade in the wood
Stage 9: The torrent Franscinone
Stage 10: Wash-house
Stage 11: The birds of the wood
Stage 12: The eroded valley of the Franscinone
Stage 12: Water and energy
Stage 13: The edge of the flood-level wood
Stage 14: Dairy farm for the processing of milk
Stage 15: Lime-kiln
Stage 17: The Humid area of Canéed
Stage 18: The earth kiln for charcoal production
Stage 19: Terracing
Stage 20: Madonna d'Arla
Stage 21: The Chestnut Wood of Pian Piret
Stage 22: The Beechwood
Stage 23: The Boulder with Engraved Cupels
Stage 23: I Denti della Vecchia
Stage 24: R’Alborón
Stage 25: The Oratory of S. Martino
Stage 26: The old center of Sonvico
Stage 27: The Walnut Press
Stage 28: The Church of Saint John the Baptist
The Luganese Regional Bus Line covers the Lugano – Sonvico stretch; from Val Colla you can reach Sonvico, using the postal bus from Tesserete to Sonvico.