Other protection status: The SCI is overlapped with a SPA named “Monte Cervati e dintorni” (IT8050046).
In terms of climate the Mt. Motola is mostly included in the Temperate region, the influence of the Mediterranean climate is strong in the hilly areas, in the eastern part along the Vallo di Diano and in the western part, in the surroundings of the town of Sacco. The Mount Motola is mainly calcareous, with several ravines (e.g. Forra del Torrente Buccana, Forra del Torrente Sammaro). The hilly areas are instead characterized by clay and marly substrata. The limestone structure Mt. Cervati-Mt. Motola belongs to the same stratigraphic unit of the Alburni massif (unit Alburno-Cervati-Pollino). The latter is composed mainly of calcareous, calcareous-dolomitic, and calcareous-marly rocks dated between the Triassic and the Neogene periods. In the areas surrounding the mountainous structure, flyschoid rocks composed of clay and marls dated in the Miocene occur. These rocks belong to the units Sicilide and Castelnuovo-Cilentana.
On calcareous substrata, it is possible to recognize in the SCI the southern Apennine beech forests of the highest altitudes (usually over 1300-1400 meters a.s.l.); the latter are usually referred to the association Ranunculo brutii-Fagetum sylvaticae. These forests are generally dominated by Fagus sylvatica but in the overstorey also Acer lobelii, A. pseudoplatanus, Salix caprea and Sorbus aucuparia can be found. The understorey is usually rather scarce, both in terms of cover and species richness values, however several species can be found among which Ranunculus brutius, Lamiastrum galeobdolon, Campanula trichocalycina, Stellaria nemorum, Cardamine kitaibelii and Orthilia secunda.
At lower altitudes a different type of beech forests occurs, the latter are usually referred to the association Anemono apenninae-Fagetum sylvaticae. Species of the overstorey other than beech are Alnus cordata, Acer obtusatum, Salix caprea, Sorbus aucuparia, Taxus baccata, and in part of the northern slope of Mount Motola also Abies alba can be found. This type of beech forest has an understory richer in species, both in terms of shrubs (Rubus hirtus, Pyrus pyraster, Malus sylvestris, Crataegus monogyna and C. laevigata) and herb species. On this substrata the most spread grassland vegetation types are the dry grasslands dominated by Bromus erectus and included in the endemic Apenninic alliance Phleo ambigui-Bromion erecti. On clay and marly rocks at lower altitudes turkey oak forests develop, whose understorey is characterized by several species endemic to southern Apennines such as Lathyrus digitatus, L. jordani, Melittis albida, Physospermum verticillatum and Euphorbia corallioides. The grasslands types occurring on these substrata are dominated by Brachypodium rupestre.
Several species of vertebrates and invertebrates included in the Habitats Directive were recorded in the SCI and its surrounding areas. Among birds species we can mention the Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), the Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), and the Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) as woodland species that are also favoured by the occurrence of senescing trees. Among mammals several species of bats were recorded and also the Wolf (Canis lupus) occurs. Among the species of amphibians and reptiles we will mention Bombina variegata, Salamandrina terdigitata and Elaphe quatuorlineata. The invertebrates are well represented with several forest-dwelling species (e.g. Cerambyx cerdo and Rosalia alpina).