Plant Sociology 50 (1) 2013

pag. 3-16: The reed die-back syndrome and its implications for floristic and vegetational traits of Phragmitetum australis

  1. Gigante1, F. Landucci1,2& R. Venanzoni1
    1University of Perugia, Department of Applied Biology, Borgo XX giugno, 74, I-06121 Perugia, Italy.
    2Masaryk University, Department of Botany and Zoology, Kotlárská 2, CZ-611 37 Brno, Czech Republic.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/01

Common reed [Phragmites australis (Cav.) Steud.] die-back is a well known phenomenon in Central Europe, recently detected also in Italy. It has been described as a complex syndrome affecting reed populations, including multiple symptoms of retreat and decline, with significant impacts on important wetland ecosystem services. The present study takes into account, for the first time, floristic and vegetational traits in a declining reed bed and tries to search for possible relations between die-back and plant community features. 45 phytosociological relevés were carried out in the years 2006, 2007 and 2009 in 19 permanent plots at Lake Trasimeno (Central Italy), where reed die-back has been detected and monitored in former studies. Relevés have been clustered into 3 groups: dying-back, suboptimal and optimal stands, on the ground of the level of decline of the corresponding reed plots. The considered traits are: number of species, total and specific cover values, diversity indexes, Ellenberg’s ecologic indicator values, number of nitrophilous species. The differential species in the three groups are also pointed out. Results show that both floristic and vegetational traits in stands affected by reed decline are significantly different from optimal and suboptimal stands. Number of species, total cover value and biodiversity indexes are significantly lower in the declining stands, while Ellenberg’s indicators for nitrogen (N) and moisture (M) point out interesting correlations. It appears that reed tends to form monospecific stands in permanently flooded areas rich in autogenous litter, where the symptoms of decline are more severe. Species rich stands develop in terrestrial areas where reed shows vigorous growth and healthy condition, however this floristic richness is largely due to invasive and nitrophilous taxa which originate a ‘pseudo-reed bed’, often lacking in typical palustrine species, referred to as a variant with Rubus ulmifolius of Phragmitetum australis Savič 1926. The results draw attention to the risk of loss of an ecosystem which plays an important role in biodiversity conservation.

pag. 17-21: The Prodrome of French vegetation: a national synsystem for phytosociological knowledge and management issues

  1. Bioret1, V. Gaudillat2& J.-M. Royer3
    1EA 2219 Géoarchitecture, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France.
    2Service du patrimoine naturel, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, France.
    3Société française de phytosociologie, 42 bis rue Mareschal, 52000 Chaumont, France.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/02

The Prodrome of French vegetation is presented from its beginnings in 1996 to the publication in 2004 of the first version of the national synsystem detailed up to the level of suballiance (PVF1). Work began in 2006 to produce a second edition, called PVF2, which aims to describe 74 of the 76 classes recorded in mainland France and Corsica, up to the level of association and subassociation. So far, 15 classes have been published, 5 classes are ready for publication and 60 classes are under preparation. The PVF2 should be finished in 2015.

pag. 23-31: Geobotanical aspects of Cytisus oromediterraneus and Genista cinerascens in Serra da Estrela (Portugal)

  1. Meireles1, P. Mendes1, C. Vila-Viçosa1, E. Cano-Carmona2& C. Pinto-Gomes1
    1Departamento de Paisagem, Ambiente e Ordenamento, Universidade de Évora (Portugal). Rua Romão Ramalho 59, P-7000-671 Évora, Portugal / Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas (ICAAM). Universidade de
    Évora, Núcleo da Mitra, Ap. 94, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal.
    2Departamento Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y Ecología. Universidad de Jaén. Campus Lagunillas s/n, 23071 – Jaén, Spain.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/03

In this paper we present the results of a geobotanical study carried out on the communities of Cytisus oromediterraneus and Genista cinerascens in Serra da Estrela, two species that in the Central Iberian Peninsula lead the associations Cytiso oromediterranei-Genistetum cinerascentis and Pteridio aquilini-Cytisetum oromediterranei. The prime objective was to describe their geographical and main ecological features, floristic structure and composition, as well as local dynamics. The sampling analyses were carried out using Braun–Blanquet’s methodology, and respective outcomes were studied using the phytosociological methodology, combined with a statistic analysis performed through the Vegana package. The results indicate that the Portuguese community of Cytisus oromediterraneus and Genista cinerascens represents a new association, that we called Teucrio salviastri-Cytisetum oromediterranei. This is an association endemic from the Estrelensean territories, siliceous, hyperhumid to ultrahyperhumid, present in supra-orotemperate territories with evident Mediterranean influence.

pag. 33-46: Phytosociological survey as a baseline for environmental status assessment: the case of hydrophytic vegetation of a deep volcanic lake

  1. M. Azzella1, L. Rosati2& C. Blasi1
    1Department of Environmental Biology, La Sapienza University of Rome, P.le A. Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy.
    2School of Agriculture, Forestry, Food and Environment, University of Basilicata, Via dell’Ateneo Lucano, C. da Macchia Romana, 85100 Potenza, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/04

Freshwater ecosystems are strongly endangered throughout Europe as they suffer from ongoing human pressure, pollution and eutrophication.
Assessment and monitoring species and habitats is essential to address conservation efforts and evaluate the results of conservation policies. Thus, European Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) ask for monitoring actions. Nevertheless, knowledge about hydrophytic vegetation of volcanic lakes in Central Italy is still lacking, incomplete or not updated. Herein, we analysed phytosociological data collected in 2010/2012 along six transects performed at Martignano Lake, a small volcanic lake 30 km NW from Rome, where aquatic vegetation was not previously studied. Overall we detected 17 species in 84 relevès: seven species belong to charophytes and ten are vascular plants; species richness for relevès ranges from one to eight; maximum macrophyte growing depth was recorded at 15,3 meters. The presence of eight communities were detected, three belonging to <i>Charetea fragilis</i> (<i>Charetum asperae</i>, <i>Charetum polyacanthae</i>, <i>Charetum globularis</i>) and five to <i>Potametea pectinati</i> (<i>Potametum denso-nodosi</i>, <i>Potamo-Myriophylletum spicati</i>, <i>Potametum pectinati</i>, <i>Ceratophylletum demersi</i>, <i>Najadetum minoris</i>). Limnological water variables and structural patterns of aquatic vegetation can be considered similar to patterns of other European calcareous deep-water lakes, from the Scandinavian Peninsula to the Balkans. Thus, to assess ecological condition of Martignano Lakes, the Reference Index method developed for German lakes was applied. Results indicated a good status of conservation for Martignano Lake even if, maximum growing depth revealed a negative trend in the last decades. We argue that Reference Index can be a useful method for Central Italy deep volcanic lakes.

pag. 47-55: Sintaxonomic concerns on Genista polyanthos R. Roem. ex Willk. broomlands from Southern Portugal

  1. Vila-Viçosa, P. Mendes, C. Meireles; R. Quinto-Canas & C. Pinto-Gomes
    Departamento de Paisagem, Ambiente e Ordenamento, Universidade de Évora (Portugal). Rua Romão Ramalho 59, P-7000-671 Évora, Portugal / Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas (ICAAM). Universidade de Évora, Núcleo da Mitra, Ap. 94, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/05

As result of several field trips following PhD researches in Marianic-Monchiquensean Sector, we describe a new broomland association named Genistetum triachanthi-polyanthi as a thermomediterranean, oceanic and sub-humid to humid, schistose association. The 26 relevés analysis, combining phytosociologic methodology with hierarchical cluster analysis (Ward’s Hierarchical Clustering, based on Bray-Curtis distance) allowed the segregation of this Monchiquense association.
Appearing as a regressive stage, or fringe, of secondary or edaphoxerophilous cork oak and, punctually, holm oak woodlands, it reveals a high sinecological value, in a wide variety of edaphoclimatic typologies, despite its poorest species number, since it includes restrict distribution taxa with high conservational value.
At last, sintaxonomic issues are highlighted as these hyperxerophilous broomlands detach themselves easily from main Cytisetea scopario-striati diagnosis, being intermixed in contrasting ecological diagnosis, with major frequency of Calluno vulgaris-Ulicetea minoris elements, under extremely different edaphoclimatic envelopes, different landscapes and serial dynamics.

pag. 57-89: Biodiversity in the Sibillini Mountain range (Sibillini National Park, central Apennines): the example of Piè Vettore

  1. Allegrezza1, S. Ballelli2, M. Mentoni3, M. Olivieri1, C. Ottaviani1, S. Pesaresi1& G. Tesei1
    1Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy.
    2School of Environmental Sciences, University of Camerino, Via Pontoni 5, 62032 Camerino (MC), Italy.
    3Geologist, P. zza U. Ciccardini, 5, 60043 Cerreto d’Esi (AN), Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/06

We present here a phytosociological study performed on the vegetation of ‘Piè Vettore’, which includes the southern slopes of Mount Vettore and Mount Vettoretto. These are the highest peaks of the mountain group of the Sibillini Mountain range (Central Apennines), within the National Park of ‘Monti Sibillini’, and included in two Natura 2000 areas. The great environmental variability and complexity that characterises the territory under investigation has resulted in great phytocoenotic diversity, as seen by the nine vegetational types detected here and updated with the latest nomenclature and syntaxonomic revisions. Five of these belong to habitats of European Community interest. These new associations are here proposed: <i>Cerastio tomentosi-Seslerietum nitidae</i>, <i>Gentiano dinaricae-Globularietum meridionalis</i>, <i>Viburno lantanae-Ostryetum carpinifoliae</i>, <i>Sorbo ariae-Juniperetum nanae</i> as well as numerous subassociations and syntaxa variants that have already been described but have not been reported for this mountain group. The intermixing of Mediterranean and montane-Mediterranean species that are typical of the mesotemperate bioclimatic belt with species of the supratemperate and orotemperate belt serve as a common thread in the characterisation of the floristic composition of different plant communities described. This intermixing is also linked to the southern exposure of the slopes, and is perhaps amplified by the ongoing climate change, thus contributing to the differentiation of a unique and original landscape. Moreover, during the sampling of the relevé data, rare species of phytogeographical interest were also found. Among these, Juniperus communis subsp. hemisphaerica detected for the first time in the Sibillini Mountain range, and according to our present knowledge, it has here its northernmost distribution limit along the Apennines. The results of this study have allowed us to broaden the floristic-vegetational knowledge of the National Park of Monti Sibillini, and they have also contributed to further definition the vegetational and landscape framework of a representative sector of this important Apennine district. As far as reforestation is concerned, which until now has been little investigated from the phytosociological point of view, the data obtained in this study provides important ecological information, and should provide the basis for silvicultural renaturation of the area.

pag. 91-107: Seed germination behavior of two Brachypodium species with a key role in the improvement of marginal areas

  1. Galiè1, S. Casavecchia1, D. Galdenzi1, R. Gasparri1, P. Soriano2, E. Estrelles2& E. Biondi1
    1Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, 60131 Ancona, Italy.
    2ICBiBE-Jardí Botànic, University of Valencia, Calle Quart 80, 46008 Valencia, Spain.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/07

Brachypodium genuense (DC.) Roem. & Schult. and B. rupestre (Host) R. et S. are important components of the vegetation of some widespread secondary, semi-natural grassland habitats. Both species play a very important role in the development of vegetation series that characterize these grasslands when they are no longer subjected to grazing or cutting regimes. This led to the gradual disappearance of such habitats and the constitution of new woods.
In some cases, such as roadsides and marginal areas, it could be convenient to facilitate this serial process by seeding or hydroseeding of native species of the genus Brachypodium. This approach could led to a better evolution of the soil with the reduction of erosion, the constitution of more natural woods and the reduction of fires risk. For this reason the germplasm of a population of Brachypodium genuense and four populations of B. rupestre from Central Apennines was collected and its germination behavior was studied.
Indeed, the early phases of seedling development are critical to the successful establishment of grassland species. Precisely, it was investigated the influence of the following factors on germination: seed size and weight, temperature, light and the removal of outer covering structures. Indeed, each of the above-mentioned factors affects technical aspects of the sowing. Inter- and intra-species variations in seed germination behavior were evidenced in this work. Light was found to enhance germination in both species, whereas remarkable differences have been found in temperature requirements between the two species and also among the four populations of B. rupestre.

pag. 109-119: The restoration of the wetlands with standing waters constituting the habitat of the Italian green toad (Bufo balearicus Boettger, 1880)

  1. Gasparri, S. Casavecchia, M. Galiè & E. Biondi
    Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, 60131 Ancona, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/08

The aim of the present study is the restoration of an environment suitable to the particular ecological requirements of populations of amphibians of Community interest. Ponds, pools, marshes, small standing waters, are hot spots of biodiversity. They contribute significantly to increase the ecological value of agro-ecosystems. The study here presented was required by a municipal administration because of the infringement procedure started by the European Union according to Habitats Directive (92/43 EEC) against the Municipality of Numana, in the Province of Ancona, in the Marche Region (Central Italy). This procedure has been initiated because of an alteration of the habitat of the Italian green toad, which is an endangered species included in annex IV of Habitats Directive and of the other amphibians that live in the wet micro-ecosystems near the mouth of the River Musone. The procedure required the definition of a mitigation and compensation project for the protection of the herpetofauna. It was carried out by an interdisciplinary team of experts. The phytosociological analyses of the vegetation were carried out in both the area directly interested by the project and in nearby guazzi (artificial wetlands for hunting purposes); they have shown the presence of the following associations: Symphyto bulbosi-Ulmetum minoris subass. lauretosum nobilisCypero-Caricetum otrubaeEleocharitetum palustrisSparganio erecti-Veronicetum anagallidis-aquaticaeLoto tenuis-Agropyretum repentis with the Ranunculus sardous variant. Moreover, the eco-physiological study of seed germination was carried out on some marsh plants (Carex otrubaeC. pendulaC. divulsa). These species of genus Carex show a strong primary dormancy that was overtaken with cold stratification at 5 °C 25/15 ° C and with a gibberellins treatment. Following the same methodological approach a study on the germination response was initiated of other typical species of these environments and it has been designed an artificial damp environment at the Botanical Garden, “Selva di Gallignano” of the Polytechnic University of Marche, to experiment with the plants to be introduced in the restoration of the habitat of Bufo balearicus. The investigation led to the suspension of infringement procedures by the European Commission despite the humid environment has not yet been rebuilt.