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Plant Sociology numero 54 (1) S1

pag. 85-95: The LIFE+ project “RES MARIS - Recovering Endangered habitatS in the Capo Carbonara MARIne area, Sardinia”: first results

S. Acunto1, G. Bacchetta2,3, A. Bordigoni4, N. Cadoni5, M.F. Cinti5, M. Duràn Navarro2, F. Frau5, L. Lentini6, M.G. Liggi4, V. Masala5, F. Meloni2, R. Pinna4, L. Podda2 & A. Sanna4

1OIKOS - Environmental Investigations in Aquatic Ecosystems ", Via di Tiglio 811, 55012 Capannori (LU), Italy.

2Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity (CCB), Life and Environmental Sciences Department, University of Cagliari, Viale S. Ignazio da Laconi 11-13, 09123 Cagliari, Italy.

3Hortus Botanicus Karalitanus (HBK), University of Cagliari, Viale S. Ignazio da Laconi 9-11, 09123 Cagliari – Italy

4Metropolitan City of Cagliari, Via Diego Cadello 9b, 09121 Cagliari, Italy.

5Municipality of Villasimius - Marine Protected Area Capo Carbonara, Villasimius (CA) Piazza Gramsci 1, 09049 Villasimius (Cagliari), Italy.

6TECLA, Association for the local and European transregional cooperation, Via Palestro, 30, 00185 Rome, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/11

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abstract

RES MARIS is an environmental protection project cofinanced by the European Union through the LIFE + Nature and Biodiversity Programme. The project aims at the conservation and recovery of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, included in the marine SCI (Site of Community Interest) "Isola dei Cavoli, Serpentara, Punta Molentis e Campulongu". The habitats selected for the implementation of the project are "Posidonia beds (Posidonion oceanicae)", "Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp." and "Wooded dunes with Pinus pinea and/or Pinus pinaster". They are characterized by a high biodiversity and exclusive vegetal and animal communities and can easily undergo both floristic and faunal changes. Some of the main threats to the site are landscape alteration, the introduction of invasive alien plants, and boat anchoring, which are mainly the result of human activities such as tourism and recreational activities, enhanced by a strong attendance (mostly in summer months). Sea-land integrated actions are therefore needed to achieve the following objectives: (1) to reduce/eliminate the invasive plants; (2) to reduce or to eliminate the mechanical damage from boat anchoring on Posidonia beds; (3) to favour the recovery of the spontaneous autochthonous vegetation; (4) to raise the awareness of the local population and stakeholders; and (5) to share conservation skills among the key decision-making bodies of the territory for the long-term protection of these habitats. Marine concrete actions consist of the positioning of mooring buoys in selected areas to ensure the conservation of Posidonia beds and the restoration of this habitat through naturalistic engineering techniques. Terrestrial concrete actions consist of the eradication of invasive species (Carpobrotus spp., Agave spp., and Acacia spp.) in the priority habitats and restoration through naturalistic engineering techniques. Communication actions use various conventional and multimedia tools including brochures, panels, a role-playing game, and an application/game for mobile phones. Environmental education and awareness-raising activities are addressed to schools and local stakeholders; a good practices manual on the integrated management of the coastal zone is devoted to key territorial players. Bathymetric and biocenotic maps were produced for 700 hectares of seabed; also, the main anthropogenic traces of disturbances were detected. The presence of the invasive alien macro algae C. cylindracea was also registered. The floristic analysis in the coastal dune systems led to the creation of a list with 127 native and 91 alien taxa. Among these, the most invasive species are those belonging to the genera Carpobrotus, Agave, and Acacia; distribution maps of these species in the SCI were created. Germplasm collections led to the acquisition of 40 seed accessions belonging to 14 structural plant species of dune habitats. It was possible to define optimal germination protocols for the selected species, and this was used to produce 30,000 plants for the restoration action.

keywords

beach system, coastal ecosystems, eradication, habitat restoration, invasive species, Mediterranean, priority habitats