sinkhole (dolina) woodland

The sinkholes are one of the typical phenomena of karst geology. These, in fact, are depressions in the ground, the formation of which may occur as a result of a range of possible phenomena linked to the erosion of the underlying limestone. In some cases they are formed in the vicinity of rocks that have cracks. Here, the flowing water dissolves limestone widening cracks that slowly merge together forming a depression in the ground. In other cases, a depression may arise as a result of the collapse of the roof of a cave lying just below the surface. The bottom of the dolines is rich in iron and aluminum compounds that give the soil a typical reddish-brown colour. These red soils have the characteristic of being particularly fertile.
The dolines are also characterized by the phenomenon of thermal inversion where cold, dense air stagnates on the bottom and where the temperature is therefore lower than the surrounding areas outside the doline.
The peculiar physical conditions of the dolines have allowed the survival of plant species that made their appearance in the karst uplands just after the last Ice Age and are therefore missing from the open plateau itself due to increasing global temperature, but have however hung on at the bottom of the sinkholes and in the karst uplands and mountains. One of the tree species that can be found in these environments is the Common Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), which is not normally present on the karst plateau as it is very sensitive to periods of drought.
In the field layer we can find Asarabacca, also known as European Wild Ginger (Asarum europaeum). These two species together provide the name of the vegetational association of the dolines,  “Asaro-Carpinetum betuli”. Also growing in the field layer we can find the Dog's-tooth Violet (Erythronium dens-canis), the Spring Pea (Lathyrus vernus), Spring Anemone (Anemone nemorosa), the False Rue Anemone  (Isopyrum thalictroides) and the Alpine Squill (Scilla bifolia).

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