Plant Sociology 54 (1) 2017

pag. 3-57: Phytosociological investigation on the class Crithmo maritimi-Limonietea in Greece

S. Brullo, C. Brullo, S. Cambria, G. Giusso del Galdo & P. Minissale

Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Catania, via A. Longo 19, I-95125 Catania, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541/01

The authors examine the plant communities belonging to the Crithmo maritimi-Limonietea class occurring along the rocky coast of continental and insular Greece. In order to highlight the syntaxonomic relationships among the eastern Mediterranean plant communities and the remaining Euro-Mediterranean territories, all known literature on this type of vegetation was considered and evalutated. Basing on these data, an updated syntaxonomical arrangement is provided. In particular, within the Crithmo maritimi-Limonietea class, three well diferrentiated orders can be recognized: a) Crithmo maritimi-Limonietalia distributed along the Mediterranean and South Atlantic Iberian coasts; b) Crithmo maritimi-Armerietalia maritimae, circumscribed to the Europaean Atlantic coasts, from the North Iberian territories up to the British Isles as well as Azores Islands; c) Frankenio ericifoliae-Astydamietalia latifoliae, regarding the Macaronesian Archipelago (Canary Islands and Madeira) and coasts of southern Morocco. The so far known alliances and suballiances of each order are examined, highlighting their proper nomenclatural and phytogeographical aspects. As concerns the Greek territories, this vegetation is included in the order Crithmo maritimi-Limonietalia, which is represented by two alliances, i.e.Cichorio spinosi-Limonion roridi, distributed in the Aegean area, and Crithmo maritimi-Elytrigion athericae replacing the previous one in the Ionian coasts. For both syntaxa, two suballiances are recognized, the homotypic ones gather the most halophilous associations localized in the belt very closed to the sea and usually differentiated by the dominance of Limonium species, respectively proposed as Cichorio spinosi-Limonienion roridi and Crithmo maritimi-Elytrigienion athericae, while the other ones group the less salt tolerant phytocoenoses occurring in the innermost band and characterized by pulvinate dwarf shrubs, respectively proposed as Phagnalo graeci-Anthyllidenion hermanniae and Elytrigio athericae-Anthyllidenion hermanniae. Due to the remarkable extension of the Greek coasts, accentuated by the extraordinary number of islands and islets, the Crithmo maritimi-Limonietea class is represented by numerous associations, many of which characterized by endemic Limonium, whose identification is based on a recent monograph on the genus Limonium in Greece. In the past, the poor knowledge on this genus in Greece often led to a misidentification of the Limonium species, with quite relevant syntaxonomical consequences. Basing on several unpublished phytosociological releves, carried out during the last three decades, many associations (80) are here described, most of which are new. For each of them, nomenclatural, floristic, structural, ecological, chorological and syntaxonomical information are provided.

pag. 59-66: The vegetation with Stipellula capensis (Thunb.) Röser & Hamasha in the Abruzzo region (Central Italy)

G. Pirone1, A.R. Frattaroli1 & G. Ciaschetti2

1Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences – University of L’Aquila, Via Vetoio, Loc. Coppito, I-67100 L’Aquila, Italy

2Majella National Park, Via Badia 28, I-67039 Sulmona (AQ), Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541/02

This paper describes the vegetation with Stipellula capensis in the Abruzzo region (Central Italy). The species is a terophyte with a strictly Mediterranean distribution and it is generally present in sub-nitrophilous pastures of small annual plants, on thin soils often rich in small clasts. The area investigated is an inter-mountain basin that is characterized by a meso-Mediterranean sub-humid climate with a high level of continentality. For the investigated plant communities, the new association Euphorbio exiguae-Stipelluletum capensis is described, within the syntaxa Hypochaeridenion achyrophori/Hypochaeridion achyrophori/Brachypodietalia distachyae/Tuberarietea guttatae. The association is the last regressive stage of the brush-tree vegetation within the climatophilous and thermophilous series of Quercus pubescens s.l. (Roso sempervirentis-Querco vigilianae sigmetum).

pag. 67-87: Contribution to the knowledge of the vegetation of the Lake Massaciuccoli (northern Tuscany, Italy)

L. Lastrucci, L. Dell’Olmo, B. Foggi, L. Massi, C. Nuccio, C. Vicenti & D. Viciani

Department of Biology, University of Florence, Via G. La Pira 4, I-50121 Florence, Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541/03 

The Lake Massaciuccoli is one of the largest and most important wetlands of Italian peninsula and is included in a protected area of regional and international relevance. In the present study, an update of the knowledge on aquatic and hygrophilous vegetation has been carried out, according to the phytosociological method. Some ecological analyses of the water trophism have been carried out, showing the high trophic level of the lake waters. The vegetation survey allowed to identify 31 plant communities belonging to 10 vegetation classes: Lemnetea minorisPotametea pectinatiBidentetea tripartitaeIsoëto-NanojunceteaLittorelletea unifloraePhragmito australis-Magnocaricetea elataeScheuchzerio palustris-Caricetea nigraeGalio aparines-Urticetea dioicaeMolinio-Arrhenatheretea and Alnetea glutinosae. Aspects with Sphagnum sp. and other Bryophytes, present in small patches within the peculiar floating reed beds of the Thelypterido-Phragmitetum association, have been recorded and analyzed. A new association (Samolo valerandi-Eleocharitetum caducae) has been described. Nine Habitats of conservation interest have been identified; among them, two (Natura 2000 codes: 7210 and 91E0) are considered of priority interest.

pag. 89-106: Vegetation survey and plant landscape mapping of the SCI IT9140002 “Litorale Brindisino” (Puglia, Southern Italy)

G. Veronico1, S. Sciandrello2, P. Medagli3 & V. Tomaselli1

1Italian National Research Council – Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources (CNR-IBBR), via G. Amendola 165/A, I-10126 Bari, Italy

2CUTGANA – University Centre for the Protection and Management of Natural Environments and Agro-ecosystems, via Santa Sofia 98, I-95123 Catania, Italy

3Department of Biological and Environmental Science and Technology, Ecotekne, University of Salento, via Provinciale Lecce-Monteroni, I-73100 Lecce, Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541/04

A vegetation survey of the SCI IT9140002 – “Litorale Brindisino” (Apulia Region, Italy), with a focus on the coastal environments, along with vegetation and habitat maps, are here presented. The SCI is a coastal site characterized by dunes and salt marshes and, landwards, by garrigues, maquis and grasslands. The coastal belt is characterized by a highly fragmented landscape, because of anthropogenic pressures and coastal erosion. The vegetation was studied according to the phytosociological method and the survey led to the identification of 22 plant communities belonging to 11 syntaxonomic classes. Vegetation and habitat maps were digitized in ArcGis 10.2 from recent orthophotos in combination with topographical maps, at a scale of 1:5,000. The presence of several complex vegetation mosaics was highlighted.

pag. 107-128: A phytosociological investigation on the mixed Hemycryptophitic and Therophitic grasslands of the Cornicolani mountains (Latium Region – Central Italy)

R. Di Pietro1, D. Germani2 & P. Fortini3

1Department of Planning, Design and Arhitecture Technology, Section Environment and Landscape, Sapienza University of Roma, Via Flaminia 72, I-00196 Roma, Italy

2Via delle Gardenie 22, I-00012 Guidonia (RM), Italy

3Department of Biosciences and Territory, University of Molise, Contrada Fonte lappone, I-86090 Pesche (IS), Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541/05

In this paper a phytosociological study on the dry grasslands of the Cornicolani mountains is presented. The Cornicolani are a group of isolated limestone hills which emerge from the slightly ondulating grounds of the Rome countryside in the Tyrrhenian side of the central Italy. Eighty-nine relevés were performed using the Braun-Blanquet phytosociological approach. These were further subjected to hierarchical classification and to NMDS ordination. Five major types of grasslands were distinguished: short therophytic grasslands developed on shallow soils dominated, in turns, by Hypochaeris achyrophorusPlantago lagopus and Plantago bellardii; sub-nitrophilous detriticolous perennial grasslands dominated by Dittrichia viscosa and Helichrysum italicumDasypyrum villosum and Vulpia ligustica lawn and fallow annual tall-grasslands; Ampelodesmos mauritanicus grasslands of the rocky S-facing slopes and sub-mesophilous Lolium perenne and Cynodon dactylon grasslands of the flat and pastured areas. From a syntaxonomical standpoint a new associations named Plantaginetum afrae-bellardii was proposed and included in the class Stipo-Trachynetea. In addition the association Helichryso italici-Inuletum viscosae Trinajstić 1965 (nom. inval.) was here validated.

pag. 129-136: A large-scale assessment of Isoetes histrix s.l. swards in the Mediterranean basin

S. Bagella1 & J. Podani2

1Department of Science for Nature and Environmental Resources and Research Desertification Center, University of Sassari, Via Piandanna 4, I-07100 Sassari, Italy

2Department of Plant Systematics, Ecology and Theoretical Biology, Institute of Biology, Eötvös University and MTAELTE-MTM Ecology Research Group, Budapest, Hungary

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541/06

One of the most vulnerable community types in the Mediterranean basin are the Isoetes histrix swards. The present study, based on a literature review, was aimed to define patterns of plant communities with I. histrix and to identify the key factors driving these patterns at large spatial scale. Data from 7 areas (Corsica, Crete, Italian peninsula, Portugal, Sardinia, Spain, and Tunisia) were assembled into a composite matrix including 255 surveys and 314 species. To each survey the following abiotic variables were associated: geographic position, elevation, distance from the sea, annual precipitation, average annual temperature, and substrate type. Exploratory analysis reveals extremely high beta diversity among and within the localities, which calls for protection measures to be taken individually in each area. The most influential abiotic factor explaining this diversity is precipitation, which necessitates special management plans to maintain the hydrological status of each site. The fact that precipitation, a relatively unpredictable and unstable climatic variable is most influential, confirms that the isoetid communities of the Mediterranean region are vulnerable to climatic changes.

pag. 137-144: New contributions to the class Charybdido pancratii-Asphodeletea ramosi Biondi 2016

E. Biondi, S. Pesaresi, R. Gasparri, N. Biscotti, G. del Viscio, D. Bonsanto & S. Casavecchia

Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences (D3A), Marche Politechnic University – I-60131 Ancona, Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541/07 

This article deals with new contributions to the class Charybdido pancratii-Asphodeletea ramosi, which was recently described in the classification of the edge vegetation of the Mediterranean area. The most important aspect is the description of the new order Bellido sylvestris-Arisaretalia vulgaris, which increases the importance of the class, as it includes sciaphilous and semi-sciaphilous edge communities. In terms of its ecology, this new order contrasts with the previously described order Asphodeletalia ramosi, which instead includes heliophilous edge communities. Four alliances belong to this new order: Cyclamino hederifolii-Arisarion vulgaris, which is the typus of the order for the eastern Mediterranean and Illyrian area; Cyclamino hederifolii-Ranunculion bullati all. nova, which also occurs in the eastern Mediterranean area; Leontodonto tuberosi-Bellidion sylvestris, which has already been described for Sardinia, and also occurs in all the Tyrrhenian area down to Sicily; and Ranunculion bullati, which was previously described for the Baetica Province of Spain, and probably occurs in other areas of the Iberian territory; in a biogeographical sense, this last thus replaces the eastern European alliance Cyclamino hederifolii-Ranunculion bullati. Moreover, six associations belong to the new order: Cyclamino hederifolii-Arisaretum vulgaris ass. nova; Drymochloo exaltatae-Cyclaminetum hederifolii ass. nova; Allio chamaemoly-Ranunculetum bullati ass. nova; Cyclamino hederifolii-Ranunculetum bullati ass. nova; Scillo obtusifoliae-Bellidetum sylvestris; and Scillo autumnalis-Bellidetum sylvestris. For the last of these associations, the new subassociation arisaretosum vulgaris is here described. The association Scillo autumnalis-Ranunculetum bullati that occurs in the Baetica Province completes the present review. Finally, the new association Euphorbio characiae-Thapsietum garganicae and the new subssociation festucetosum circummediterraneae are described, which are part of the order Asphodeletalia ramosi. The syntaxonomic scheme that includes all of the communities described within the class, and the synoptic table of all of the syntaxa that are part of the same class, complete the article.