Plant Sociology 51 (1) 2014

pag. 3-4: The loss of Jean-Marie Géhu

E. Biondi

Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2014511/01

A great man and a great scientist, Jean-Marie Géhu left us forever this year (born 3 April, 1930; departed 15 February, 2014). As a friend and a teacher for phytosociologists, Jean-Marie was a friendly, pleasant and elegant man. We will never forget his charisma, his talent as a communicator, and at the same time, his simplicity.

pag. 5-18: Vegetation changes during a 30 year period in several stands above the forest line (Emilian-Apennines)

F. Bonafede, D. Ubaldi, M. Vignodelli, A.L. Zanotti & G. Puppi

Dip. BiGeA, Università di Bologna, Via Irnerio 42, I-40126 Bologna, Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2014511/02

The study highlights the changes occurred in several stands of Hyperico richeri-Vaccinietum communities of the high Emilian Apennines after 30 years after the first phytosociological and phenological surveys. In 2012 the same types of surveys were repeated in the original stands, with the aim to detect any change in vegetation structure as well as in species composition and behaviour. The study has pointed out significant changes in all the vegetation stands over the last 30 years. The following trends are displayed in the stands analysed: A) a general decrease of species richness per stand; B) a slight increase of the shrubs/herbs cover ratio, with a significant spreading of Juniperus communis and of Vaccinium uliginosum, sometimes coupled with a reduction of Vmyrtillus cover; C) a reduction of Orophytes and of many species belonging to the classes Caricetea curvulae and Nardo-Callunetea; D) a xero-thermic trend of plant communities composition (index species analysis). It is noteworthy that many of the declining species flower in the dryest and hottest period of the year (July-August). The results seems to indicate that the changes in vegetation features are due only partly to human causes (lighter grazing) and more widely to climatic stress.

pag. 19-29: Network of Protected Natural Areas and Endangered Flora in Andalusia (Spain)

A.J. Mendoza-Fernández, F. Martínez-Hernández, F.J. Pérez-García, E. Salmerón-Sánchez, J.A. Garrido-Becerra, M.E. Merlo & J.F. Mota

University of Almería. Dpto. Biología y Geología. CITE II – B. Ctra. Sacramento s/n. La Cañada de San Urbano, E-04120 Almería, Spain

doi: 10.7338/pls2014511/03

Andalusia has one of the highest levels of diversity in Europe in terms of biology, geology and landscape. Its natural heritage is not only extremely diverse but also well preserved. Only the vascular flora of Andalusia consists over 4,000 species, many of which are endemic. Nowadays many of these plants are endangered and therefore registered under one or other of the endangered levels in Red Lists and Red Books.
The aim of this research is to make a qualitative analysis of the main ecological characteristics of the endangered flora in Andalusia contained in Red Lists, Red Books and specific legislation for the Andalusian territory. The most significant results of this study indicate that over a third of the Andalusian flora is endangered or has been previously considered as such. A high percentage of these species are endemic plants. RENPA (the Spanish acronym for Network of Protected Natural Areas of Andalusia) plays a fundamental role in the management of the endangered flora in Andalusia since only 6% of the endangered flora is not included in the network. The highest concentration of endangered taxa occurs in the thermomediterranean and mesomediterranean bioclimatic belts. However, there is still some discrepancy between the percentage (of species) within the whole of the flora representing concrete families and biotopes and the percentage of those species in the category of endangered.

pag. 30-30: Network of Protected Natural Areas and Endangered Flora in Andalusia (Spain) – Tab. 1 – Flora Database

A.J. Mendoza-Fernández, F. Martínez-Hernández, F.J. Pérez-García, E. Salmerón-Sánchez, J.A. Garrido-Becerra, M.E. Merlo & J.F. Mota

University of Almería. Dpto. Biología y Geología. CITE II – B. Ctra. Sacramento s/n. La Cañada de San Urbano, E-04120 Almería, Spain 

pag. 31-57: Vegetation and plant landscape of Asinara National Park (Italy)

S. Pisanu, E. Farris, M. C. Caria, R. Filigheddu, M. Urbani & S. Bagella

Dipartimento di Scienze della Natura e del Territorio, University of Sassari, Via Piandanna 4, I-07100 Sassari, Italy 

doi: 10.7338/pls2014511/04

The vegetation of the Asinara National Park, established in 1997, is dramatically degraded as a consequence of the intensive human use during the last centuries. Fire, overgrazing, intensive and extensive farming activities, carried out during the 112 years of the presence of a penal colony, determined the spread of secondary plant communities. Human induced effects are evident also in the communities of the psammophilous and hygrophilous geo-sigmeta.
Overall, 51 plant communities, ascribed to 21 classes, were detected. Six new associations and seven new subassociations were described. In the plant landscape three vegetation series and five geo-sigmeta were identified. 18 habitats of community interest were recognized. Issues concerning the management of the plant communities and plant landscape are stressed in the discussion.

pag. 59-87: The vegetation and the plant landscape of Monte Sassotetto (Sibillini Mountains, Central Apennines)

M. Allegrezza1, S. Ballelli2, V. Ciucci1, M. Mentoni3 & S. Pesaresi1

1Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy
2School of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Camerino, Via Pontoni 5, 62032 Camerino (MC), Italy
3Geologist, P.zza U. Ciccardini, n. 5, I-60043 Cerreto d’Esi (AN), Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2014511/05

We present here a detailed phytosociological study of the vegetation and the plant landscape of the north-eastern slopes of Monte Sassotetto (Sibillini Mountains, central Apennines), which is part of an extensive skiing area. The findings have revealed the high vegetational diversity of the study area, as shown by the 11 vegetational typologies identified, which are updated with the latest syntaxonomic and nomenclatural revisions. Nine of these belong to Habitats of Community Interest (SCI). The new associations described here are Gentiano luteae-Brachypodietum genuensisLuzulo sieberi-Brachypodietum genuensis and Dichoropetalo carvifolii-chabraeii-Paeonietum italicae, as well as the subassociations and the syntaxon variants that have already been described in the literature. The geological and geomorphological variability, the vast areas of pasture land that have been long abandoned by traditional human activities, and the management of the ski slopes make this a territory that is indeed representative for the analysis of the biotic and abiotic ecological factors that can have effects on the phytocoenosis and species diversity. Along with the lithological characteristics, the geomorphology together with the steepness of the slopes and the acidity of the soil are the most significant abiotic factors for the interpretation of the vegetational diversity of this territory. For the grasslands, the study has allowed the indication in particular of Filipendulo vulgaris-Trifolietum montani (Habitat 6210*) as grassland communities at risk of disappearing due to the floristic-vegetational changes. Abandonment of the traditional human practices has triggered the natural dynamic processes of the vegetation. In locations where disturbance has been practically absent for a long time, under conditions of deep soil and prolonged snow cover, there has been progression of the natural dynamic processes. This has also been accelerated by the forest coenoses, which has led to the replacement of the grasslands included in the association Filipendulo vulgaris-Trifolietum montani (Habitat 6210*), with coenoses that are included in the class Trifolio-Geranietea, with the subsequent loss of this Habitat. Finally, the management of the snow cover in the preparation of the ski slopes is one of the ecological factors responsible for the acidification of the slope grasslands of the association Filipendulo vulgaris-Trifolietum montani, which is being replaced by the acidophilous microthermal grasslands of the association Gentiano luteae-Brachypodietum genuensis.

pag. 89-136: Phytosociological study of the eastern slopes of Alpe della Luna (northern Apennines, Italy)

S. Casavecchia, L. Paradisi, S. Pesaresi & E. Biondi

Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2014511/06

The vegetation is presented here for the eastern, Adriatic, slopes of the Alpe della Luna mountain chain of the northern Apennines. For the lithological aspects, the mountain shows relative homogeny, as represented by the marly-arenaceous formation of the Umbro-Marche-Romagna series, along with the slope debris. The bioclimate of the area shows a temperate macrobioclimate, an oceanic temperate bioclimate, and a lower supratemperate thermotype, with a lower humid ombrotype. On the basis of the present study, the flora of the area is represented by 757 plant entities that belong to 86 families and 387 genera. These data are known not to be completely exhaustive of the local floristic biodiversity, although they represent an important in-depth analysis. This study of the woodland vegetation has revealed also for this area the association Cardamino heptaphyllae-Fagetum, with two new subassociations: quercetosum cerris and abietetosum albae. Furthermore, the following new woodland associations are proposed here: Veronico officinalis-Quercetum cerridis ass. nova; Cardamino heptaphyllae-Aceretum pseudoplatani ass. nova, with the subassociations cardaminetosum heptaphyllae subass. nova and aceretosum obtusati subass. nova; and Sileno dioicae-Ostryetum carpinifoliae. For the grasslands, these show two typologies that are included in two newly described subassociations of well known communities: lathyretosum pratensis subass. nova, included in Centaureo bracteatae-Brometum erecti; and seslerietosum apenninae subass. nova, of Asperulo purpureae-Brometum erecti.

pag. 137-147: The role of Potential Natural Vegetation for Natura 2000 Habitat monitoring

D. Gigante, F. Maneli & R. Venanzoni

Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology, University of Perugia, Borgo XX giugno 74, I-06121 Perugia, Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2014511/07

In the present paper, some criteria for evaluating the intrinsic and local relevance of Annex I Habitats (Dir. 92/43/EEC) are discussed with reference to the concept of Potential Natural Vegetation and Vegetation Series. We pointed out some phytosociological aspects suitable to be used for assessing the intrinsic value of Habitats and their real importance contextualized in the actual, current biodiversity of a given territory. We introduced the concept of Potential Natural Vegetation as a robust tool to evaluate the representativity and the gaps of the conservation framework and its suitability in safeguarding the actual and potential biodiversity of a territory. On the ground of a case study in Central Italy, we evaluated the effectiveness of Natura 2000 Network in its current configuration at regional scale, profiting from the informations included in the concept of Vegetation Series. The regional scale appeared to be suitable for a realistic evaluation of where, when and what should be done for Habitat management and conservation.