226 research outputs found

    Synergies of planning for forests and planning for Natura 2000: Evidences and prospects from northern Italy

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    Improvements in the management of Natura 2000 sites are essential to achieve the targets set out by the Habitats and Birds Directives of the European Union. A current focus is on the development of management plans, which are fundamental instruments in the implementation of conservation measures. This study explores the viability of using existing forest plans to assist in this purpose. As case study, we consider the regulatory framework of the Veneto Region, northern Italy. We collected quantitative and qualitative data on forest plans at the regional and at three sub-regional spatial scales: local, district, and biogeographical. Forest plans cover about 54% of the terrestrial area of Natura 2000 sites in Veneto, and 75% of Sites of Community Importance in the Alpine biogeographical region. At the local scale of analysis, metrics from forest plans represent a valuable historical record which can be used to interpret the current state and future trends, especially for forests with long management records. These data can be used to assess biodiversity indicators for the monitoring of Natura 2000 forest and non-forest habitats, in compliance with Article 17 of the Habitats Directive. Moreover, the heterogeneous stand conditions which are promoted by some forest management approaches can improve the conservation efforts for some habitats and species. The scale of local forest plans are typically the most appropriate for implementing habitat management strategies. From this study, we conclude that management authorities should take advantage of the wide spatial coverage and distribution of existing forest plans, especially in mountain areas inside and outside the Natura 2000 network, for the successful conservation of European Union habitats and species

    Ecological factors affecting Alpine chamois population recruitment: remote sensing can support adaptive management

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    The analysis of ecological factors able to affect the life history traits of ungulates is important to reveal key information on population dynamics of wild herbivores. As regard to bovids, it is often crucial for juveniles and yearlings to gain quickly body size and mass, as such growths primarily increase chance to reach re- productive maturity (i.e., an increase in the survival probability). Accordingly, we modeled a set of ecological factors accounting for the variation of Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) population recruitment through three indexes: i) the ratio kids/adult females (NK/NF), ii) the ratio yearlings/adult females (NY/NF), and iii) the yearlings eviscerated body mass (YBM). These indexes were derived respectively from block count census and from hunting records in the last 45 years in different ecological contexts in the South-West Trento province. These indexes were associated to forage quality/quantity, winter harshness, and local chamois density. In detail, we considered NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) as a proxy for the quality of Alpine meadows used by chamois in spring and summer and snow cover data belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Ad- ministration (NASA) remote sensing dataset (TERRA-MODIS). The reproductive success of these populations was strongly influenced both by the quality of meadows during births period (May) and by the space-time pattern of growth and maturation of Alpine pastures in spring and summer periods. Even winter harshness played an important role in this process. In particular, i) the NK/NF was positively influenced by the average quality of the grazing season previous to the births period and by the maximum NDVI value recorded in May (i.e., births period); ii) the NY/NF was negatively affected by the extent of snow cover in the first winter of kids and positively related to the average quality of the pasture in the subsequent spring and summer (i.e., the feed intake period in which individuals had to recover weight loss derived from previous winter); and iii) the YBM revealed a negative trend during the study period suggesting a difficult adaptation to climate and environmental changes taking place. Contrary to our expectations, local density was not able to influence these variables. This result may suggest that local density are not exceedingly high in the study area and therefore are not able to promote density dependent phenomena. In conclusion, these results contribute to increase the knowledge of the mechanisms underlying Alpine chamois population dynamics and give insights to plan adaptive management and conservation of this species

    "Edible" urban forests as part of inclusive, sustainable cities

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    Feeding an increasingly urban population and ensuring the economic and social well-being of urban dwellers will be the primary challenge for cities in coming decades. The impacts of climate change are expected to slow down urban economic growth, exacerbate environmental degradation, increase poverty and erode urban food security. Many cities are on a quest for more sustainable urbanization pathways that will enable effective responses to the increasing socio-economic and environmental challenges they face. In the search to \u201cmake cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable\u201d (Sustainable Development Goal 11 in the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030), interest is increasing in growing local food. Edible green infrastructure, mainly in the form of urban food forests and trees (referred to here generally as urban food forests and also sometimes as tree-based edible landscaping), can help address a range of problems caused by rapid and unplanned urbanization, such as food scarcity, poverty, the deterioration of human health and well-being, air pollution, and biodiversity loss. The use of edible plants in urban and peri-urban forestry varies among cities and is influenced by historical, cultural and socio-economic factors. Overall, it has tended to be neglected in modern cities. This article explores the potential of urban and peri-urban forests as sources of food and the role that urban food forests can play in fostering sustainable cities

    Exploring the multiple effects of the invasive alien robinia tree: a PhD project presentation

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    The poster explains the background, research questions and objectives and methods of the PhD study on black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) funded by the Linda Scattolin J:ROBIN project (2016-2019)

    Edible urban forests as part of inclusive, sustainable cities

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    Feeding an increasingly urban population and ensuring the economic and social well-being of urban dwellers will be the primary challenge for cities in coming decades. The impacts of climate change are expected to slow down urban economic growth, exacerbate environmental degradation, increase poverty and erode urban food security. Many cities are on a quest for more sustainable urbanization pathways that will enable effective responses to the increasing socio-economic and environmental challenges they face. In the search to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (Sustainable Development Goal 11 in the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030), interest is increasing in growing local food. Edible green infrastructure, mainly in the form of urban food forests and trees (referred to here generally as urban food forests and also sometimes as tree-based edible landscaping), can help address a range of problems caused by rapid and unplanned urbanization, such as food scarcity, poverty, the deterioration of human health and well-being, air pollution, and biodiversity loss (FAO, 2016).info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Forest management plans as data source for the assessment of the conservation status of European Union habitat types

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    Natura 2000 is a European network of protected sites that should enable natural habitats to be maintained or restored at a favorable conservation status. Progress toward this objective must be periodically reported by states members of the European Union. We investigated how forest management plans might provide data to support the reporting. The study was done in the forests of the Dolomites and Venetian Prealps, Italy. Here, about 200 forest management plans, divided into several forest compartments, have been drawn up and revised every 10–15 years. Stand structure variables were retrieved from past (OR, 1970–1980) and more recent revisions (NR, 2000–2010) of 331 forest compartments ranging between 0.35 and 53.1 ha. In the beech and spruce forest habitat types (coded 9130 and 9410 in Annex I of the Directive 92/43/EEC, respectively), we found an increase from OR to NR in the density of large trees (from 32 to 46/ha and from 31 to 50/ha, respectively for the two habitats), basal area (from 27.3 to 31.5 m2/ha and from 31 to 34.5 m2/ha), mean diameter (from 34.1 to 36.2 cm and from 33.9 to 36 cm) and Gini index (from 0.35 to 0.37 and from 0.33 to 0.36). Pursuant to the Directive 92/43/EEC, the conservation status of these two habitat types should be taken as “favorable” with regards to the criterion related to the habitats’ specific structure and functions that are necessary for its long-term maintenance. We conclude that forest management plans provide a great portion of the information needed for assessing and monitoring the conservation status of forest habitat types in the Natura 2000 framework

    Monitoring air pollution close to a cement plant and in a multi-source industrial area through tree-ring analysis

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    Thirty-two trace elements were examined in the tree rings of downy oak to evaluate the pollution levels close to a cement plant isolated in a rural context and an industrial area where multiple sources of air pollution are or were present. Tree cores were collected from trees growing 1 km from both the cement plant and the industrial area that are located 8 km from each other. The analysis of the trace elements was performed on annual tree rings from 1990 to 2016 using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Trace elements Cs, Mg, Mn, S and Zn reflected the emission history of the cement plant. Their values have increased since early 2000s, when the cement plant started its activity. However, the lack of significant trends of pollutants in the tree rings from the industrial area and the possible effect of translocation and volatility of some elements left open questions. The very weak changes of the other trace elements in the period 1990–2016 suggest those elements do not mark any additional effect of the industrial activity on the background pollution. The results confirm that downy oak trees growing close to isolated industrial plants must be considered a pollution forest archive accessible through dendrochemistry

    Finite mixture model-based classification of a complex vegetation system

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    To propose a Finite Mixture Model (FMM) as an additional approach for classifying large datasets of georeferenced vegetation plots from complex vegetation systems. Study area: The Italian peninsula including the two main islands (Sicily and Sardinia), but excluding the Alps and the Po plain. Methods: We used a database of 5,593 georeferenced plots and 1,586 vascular species of forest vegetation, created in TURBOVEG by storing published and unpublished phytosociological plots collected over the last 30 years. The plots were classified according to species composition and environmental variables using a FMM. Classification results were compared with those obtained by TWINSPAN algorithm. Groups were characterized in terms of ecological parameters, dominant and diagnostic species using the fidelity coefficient. Interpretation of resulting forest vegetation types was supported by a predictive map, produced using discriminant functions on environmental predictors, and by a non\u2010metric multidimensional scaling ordination. Results: FMM clustering obtained 24 groups that were compared with those from TWINSPAN, and similarities were found only at a higher classification level corresponding to the main orders of the Italian broadleaf forest vegetation: Fagetalia sylvaticae, Carpinetalia betuli, Quercetalia pubescenti-petraeae and Quercetalia ilicis. At lower syntaxonomic level, these 24 groups were referred to alliances and sub-alliances. Conclusions: Despite a greater computational complexity, FMM appears to be an effective alternative to the traditional classification methods through the incorporation of modelling in the classificatory process. This allows classification of both the co-occurrence of species and environmental factors so that groups are identified not only on their species composition, as in the case of TWINSPAN, but also on their specific environmental niche
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