The Forest of Cansiglio covers about 5,000 hectares and is currently managed by the State Forestry Service and Veneto Agriculture, the Regional administration. It is situated on a karst (limestone) plateau with a characteristic basin shape, giving it the phenomenon of temperature inversion which influences the presence and type of vegetation: in fact the meadows in the lowest parts are surrounded by coniferous forest while beech woods predominate on the higher slopes.
The forest trail of SantAtonio Tiriton is circular, passing through a northern part of the forest not far from the Cimbro hamlet of Pian Osteria.
Here the mixed woods of Beech, Spruce and Silver Fir offer the most interesting and diversified ecosystem where the ecological dynamics, biodiversity, fauna, mosses, lichens and fungi in the Alpago-Cansiglio can be observed. The many layers of vegetation, trees of different sizes, large number of botanical species, stumps covered with moss and big plants have combined to produce a precious natural habitat. This makes it well suited to sustaining various animal and plant organisms which are part of complex food webs and contribute to enriching the biodiversity of the forest.
The snail population of Cansiglio includes molluscs and gastropods (snails and slugs) and forms an important, if less visible, part of various forest microhabitats (tree trunks, stumps, forest litter) in the Alpago-Cansiglio area. Along the trail you may see the Helix Pomatia since it is quite common and has a large shell.
The lichens, originating from the symbiotic union of algae and fungus, are easily visible on rocks and bark and hanging from branches. They indicate the quality of the air and health of the ecosystem and find their ideal habitat in mixed, mature woods with a high level of humidity.
Fungi are present in many forms, emerging from tree trunks, stumps and rotting wood; they play an important part in a forest ecosystem, being very useful in breaking down organic substances.
As hunting has long been banned, the area offers a refuge to most of the animals commonly found in Alpine areas. The easiest mammals to see are roe deer and red deer, which are quite numerous in the forest. Many dusk and night time animals also live here, and mice and small mammals form the prey of both night and day raptors. Grouse (tetraonidae) are present, though the capercaillie is rare.
In the Museum you can see various examples of medicinal plants, the distribution of plants by altitude, the different woods in the collection of specimens, as well as many of the animals whose traces may be found along the trail.