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Plant Sociology numero 54 (1) S1

pag. 73-84: Results of the Providune project: restoration of the “Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.” priority habitat in Sardinia

M.S. Pinna1, G. Bacchetta1,2, M. Orrù1, D. Cogoni1, A. Sanna3, G. Fenu1,4

1Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity (CCB), Department of Environment and Life Science (DISVA), University of Cagliari, v.le Sant'Ignazio da Laconi, 11-13, I-09123, Cagliari, Italy.

2Hortus Botanicus Karalitanus (HBK), University of Cagliari, v.le Sant'Ignazio da Laconi, 9-11, I-09123, Cagliari, Italy.

3Coastal protection office, Environment Sector, Province of Cagliari, via Cadello 9/b I-09121, Cagliari, Italy. 4Department of Environmental Biology, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Piazzale A. Moro 5, I-00185 Rome, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/10

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abstract

The Providune project “Conservation and restoration of habitats dune in the sites of the Provinces of Cagliari, Matera and Caserta” (LIFE07NAT/IT/000519), financed by the European Union for the years 2009-2014, was aimed to protect and restore the “coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.” habitat (code 2250*) and other related habitats of community interest characterizing the Mediterranean sandy coasts. In this paper will be shown the main results of the project focusing on the geobotanical studies, ex situ conservation and restoration activities carried out in three Site of Community Importance (SCI) areas selected in the South Sardinia. The geobotanical analyses were carried out in order to characterize the flora and vegetation of the Juniperus habitat and the particular ecological traits of Juniperus macrocarpa respectively. In addition, three detailed maps related to the habitat and vegetation for each coastal dune systems were drawn. To carry out the ex situ conservation of coastal dune plants, germplasm (seeds and fruits) was collected and stored in the Sardinian Germplasm Bank (BG-SAR); moreover effective protocols for the germination of 12 key species of the Juniperus habitat were identified, for the purpose of obtain their propagation and reinforcement. An experimental project to reinforce the native germplasm of structural species of coastal habitats such as Pancratium maritimum, Pistacia lentiscus and J. macrocarpa was realized, using the grafting groups that is sand trap systems that encouraged the embryonic dunes formation and dune consolidation, and permanent plots (bio-mats coconut fiber installed to reduce wind erosion and protect the plant roots) previously installed, with the aim to reinforce species populations and contain habitat fragmentation. Restoration actions were performed ensuring the manual removal of invasive alien plant species and the subsequent planting of native ones. Other measures to reduce the human impacts, mainly due to trampling, such as wooden walkways and light fences were realized. Finally, once completed all conservation actions and interventions, the monitoring protocol to verify their effectiveness has been activated; this action will be implemented in the next five years, based on the post-Life monitoring plan.

keywords

dune systems, habitat fragmentation, human impacts, in situ and ex situ conservation, Juniperus, restoration ecology