Fitosociologia 42 (2) 2005

pag. 3-13: Valutazione della qualità e dello stato di conservazione degli ambienti litoranei: l’esempio del S.I.C. “Penisola del Cavallino: biotopi litoranei” (Venezia, NE-Italia)

G. Buffa, D. Mion, U. Gamper, L. Ghirelli & G. Sburlino

Università di Venezia, Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali, Campo Celestia 2737b, I-30121 Venezia; e-mail:

Evaluation of quality and conservation status in coastal landscapes: the example of the Site of Community Importance “Penisola del Cavallino: biotopi litoranei”(Venice, NE Italy). Quality of coastal landscape has been estimated at two different scale: at the community level, we assessed a naturalistic value, by evaluating characteristics coming both from species (i.e. presence of endemic species) and from community itself (i.e. rarity). We also took into account the percentage of exotic and ruderal species on the total number of species of each community, as an indirect measure of alteration degree.
At the landscape level, we tried to value structural and functional integrity by evaluating spatial connectivity and contrast among patches. As the plant communities of foredunes show a typical spatial zonation, the two indices have been calculated along 27 transects perpendicular to the seashore. On the basis of a digital map of the area, we measured the gamma connectivity index along each transect; we assessed both “total connectivity”,
considering all the communities intersected by the transects, and “partial connectivity”, considering only the plant communities of foredunes, so describing spatial distribution model of coastal vegetation. Since on the backdune there is not a typical zonation of communities, we counted only the links between natural communities, considering anthropogenic communities as a break of natural landscape and of connectivity. In addition, we measured the contrast index; this index evaluates the change in environmental conditions going from one community (or patch) to the neighbouring one. The different patches are included and surrounded by a matrix, consisting of “nonhabitat” at different degree of alteration, that may function as an impenetrable barrier for individuals or, on the contrary, may favour movements. Thus, the surrounding matrix may significantly influence the effective isolation of habitat patches, rendering them more or less isolated than simple distance would indicate. For the contrast computation, we utilized the naturalistic value assessed to each community on the basis of the phytosociological data. Both indices point to the extreme fragmentation
of coastal landscape and to high vulnerability that characterizes all natural communities being they surrounded by a matrix highly contrasting. Conservation strategies should, then, concern natural habitat, their quality and their structural and functional integrity, but they should also consider the quality of surrounding matrix.

pag. 15-21: Le comunità a Carex elata All. della torbiera di Vanzone (Piemonte, Vercelli)

M. Lonati & S. Lonati

Via Garibaldi 18, I – 13017 Quarona (VC); e-mail:

The authors report on the results of a phytosociological study carried out on a marshy habitat located in Valsesia (Piedmont, Vercelli). The dominant vegetation is referred to the Caricetum elatae Koch 1926. The natural dynamic processes and the invasion by wood plants (Alnetea glutinosae Br.-Bl. et Tüxen ex Westhoff, Dijk et Passchier 1946 e Querco-Fagetea Br.-Bl. et Vlieger in Vlieger 1928) resulted in a quality impoverishment of the floristic composition. The Carex elata community is linked by natural dynamic processes to other communities, referred to the Carici elatae-Alnetum glutinosae Franz 1990 and Scirpetum sylvatici Ralski 1931. Caricetum elatae association (relict vegetation in the Po plain) is the naturalistic peculiarity of the studied area. Some interesting species, endangered in Italy (Utricularia australis) or locally rare (Salix cinerea, Sparganium emersum, etc.) were founded.

pag. 23-31: A new methodology for the quantitative evaluation of the conservation status of vegetation: the potentiality distance index (PDI)

A. Penas, S. del Río & L. Herrero

Departamento de Biología Vegetal (Área de Botánica), Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas y Ambientales, Universidad de León, Campus de Vegazana s/n., I-24071 León; e-mail:

Mapping of the present state of vegetation for the use in nature conservation is a practical and useful application of phytocoenology. Methods of modern phytosociology allow a good scientific evaluation of the biological value of a territory. In this sense, the main aim of this study is to propose an objective and quantifiable scientific index (Potentiality Distance Index, PDI) in order to evaluate the distance to the optimum status (series head) of each territory and therefore its global conservation status.
The Index is based on the application and interpretation of the Symphytosociological or Dynamic-Catenal Phytosociological conception. Thus, taking into account the successional relations of the different types of vegetation and their naturalness indexes is possible to define a formula for evaluating the distance to the series head and therefore to their optimum conservation status. The Index has been tested in different territories of the Iberian Peninsula using the Actual Vegetation Cartography developed for the National Inventory of Natural and Seminatural Habitat Types (Rivas-Martínez et al., 1993) in order to determine the protected sites that have constituted Natura 2000.
Results proposed in the current study show the Index is objective and universal because the global conservation status of the studied area is in accord with results proposed by other authors for this territory with similar indexes. The Index can provide objective and quantitative information to be applied in land management and nature conservation studies, being a useful tool for the restoration of potential natural vegetation in degraded areas.

pag. 33-65: La vegetazione forestale della Regione Temperata del “Flysch del Cilento” (Italia meridionale)

L. Rosati , R. Di Pietro & C. Blasi

Dipartimento di Biologia Vegetale Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, P.le A. Moro 5, I-00185 Roma; e-mail:

The woodlands of Flysch substrates in Cilento National Park (Campania region, southern Italy). 217 relevés were performed using the phytosociological approach of Braun-Blanquet. Phytosociological data were further treated with multivariate analysis procedures. Eight woodland types belonging to Fagetalia sylvaticae (4), Quercetalia pubescenti-petraeae (3) and Populetalia (1) were identified and characterized synecologically and syntaxonomically. The microthermic beech woodlands occurring in the upper supra-temperate belt were referred to Ranunculo brutii-Fagetum while the beech woodlands of the lower supratemperate belt were placed in Anemono-Fagetum. Alnus cordata woodland communities interposed between the beech and the oak woodland belts were referred to Asperulo-Alnetum cordatae. Quercus cerris woodlands occurring within the lower supratemperate belt and ranging between 800 and 1000 m a.s.l. were described as a new association of Geranio-Fagion alliance named Thalictro aquilegifolii-Quercetum cerridis ass. nova. As far as oak woodlands are concerned, the termophilous Quercus cerris woodlands of the hilly and sub-montane belts were considered as a new subassociation of Lathyro digitati-Quercetum cerridis named festucetosum exaltatae whereas Quercus frainetto woodlands mainly developed on sandy substrates were referred to Echinopo siculi-Quercetum frainetto. Both these associations are to be included in Teucrio siculi-Quercion cerridis alliance and in Ptilostemo-Quercenion cerridis suballiance, as well as the chestnuts coppiced woodland communities. Finally Alnus glutinosa woodlands were referred to Euphorbio-Alnetum glutinosae.

pag. 67-81: Faggete e cerrete mesofile nell’Alto Molise

C. Blasi1, P. Fortini2, G. Grossi3 & G. Presti1 di Biologia Vegetale, Università “La Sapienza”, P.le Aldo Moro 5, I-00185 Roma di Scienze e Tecnologie per l’Ambiente e il Territorio, Università degli Studi del Molise, Via Mazzini 8, I-86170 Isernia

3Corpo Forestale dello Stato-Gestione ex A.S.F.D., Ufficio Amministrazione, Via Bellini 8/10, I-86170 Isernia; e-mail

Beech and mesophilous Quercus cerris woodlands in Alto Molise (central Italy). In this paper a phytosociological analysis of mesophilous Quercus cerris and Fagus sylvatica subsp. sylvatica woods of Alto Molise is presented. From geomorfological point of view the area is characterized by limestone mountains and clay-sandy hills. Termophilous beech woods referred to Anemono-apenninae-Fagetum sylvaticae association and mesophilous beech woods referred to Cardamino kitaibelii-Fagetum sylvaticae association were investigated. Main part of the study area is occupied from mesophilous turkey oak woods with Carpinus betulus. These woods are referred to Aremonio agrimonioidis-Quercetum cerridis new association. In this paper a floristic, ecological and chorological diagnosis of such woods is proposed.
So Alto Molise represents link between central-northern and central-southern Italy woods; here they reach their southern and northern boundary respectively.

pag. 83-103: Le praterie a Stipa austroitalica Martinovsky ssp. austroitalica dell’Alta Murgia (Puglia) e della Murgia Materana (Basilicata)

L. Forte1, E.V. Perrino2 & M. Terzi3

1Dip. Scienze delle Produzioni Vegetali, Museo Orto Botanico, Università degli Studi di Bari, Via E. Orabona 4, I-70126 Bari; e-mail:

2Dip. di Botanica, Università di Catania, Via A. Longo 19, I-95125 Catania

3Istituto di Genetica Vegetale – CNR, via Amendola 165/A, I-70126 Bari; e-mail:

Stipa austroitalica Martinovsky ssp. austroitalica grasslands of Alta Murgia (Apulia) and Murgia Materana (Basilicata). This paper deals with grasslands dominated by Stipa austroitalica ssp. austroitalica in the districts of National Park of Alta Murgia (central Apulia) and Regional Park of Murge Materane (south-east of Basilicata). Phytosociological analyses have been carried out in order to contribute to knowledge of these grasslands syntaxonomy. The phytoclimatic outline of the area under study has been obtained by processing the thermal and rainfall data recorded at the weatherstations of Altamura, Castel del Monte (Alta Murgia) and Matera (Murge Materane) and computing bioclimatic indexes (according to the methods of Rivas Martinez and of Montero de Burgos and González Rebollar). The vegetation study has been performed through 31 phytosociological relevés. The matrix, relevés by species, has been analysed by classification and ordination multivariate techniques in order to highlight homogeneous groups. The phytoclimate of the area can be ascribed to the pluvioseasonal-oceanic type of the Mediterranean macrobioclimate, with a mesomediterranean thermotype and a continental tendency. Murge Materane phytoclimate results more thermo-xeric than Alta Murgia one. Phytosociological and statistical multivariate analyses have pointed out two main groups of relevés corresponding to two new associations: Acino suaveolentis-Stipetum austroitalicae e Chamaecytiso spinescentis-Stipetum austroitalicae. These latter have been framed in a new alliance (Hippocrepido glaucae-Stipion austroitalicae) of Scorzonero-Chrysopogonetalia, that gathers calcareous steppe grasslands of Festuco-Brometea, with accentuated Mediterranean characters. The
results of this study show the affinity between S. austroitalica ssp. austroitalica grasslands of south-east of Italy and vegetation of trans-Adriatic and north-Adriatic Carso areas. Moreover, they contribute to define the westward part of Scorzonero-Chrysopogonetalia range, which thus would include also the inner part of central Apulia and eastern Basilicata.