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Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, First International Symposium of the FIP

Symposia and Workshop


Opening session

Prof. Carlo Blasi

President of the FIP - International Federation on Plant sociology
Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University, Rome

Prof. Dr., Dr.hc.mult. Salvador Rivas-Martínez

Catedrático Em. Universidad Complutense de Madrid
CIF-Centro de Investigaciones Fitosociológicas, Los Negrales (Alpedrete), Madrid

The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) is a catalyst for working together at all levels - local, national, regional and global - to understand, conserve and use sustainably the world's immense wealth of plant diversity whilst promoting awareness and building the necessary capacities for its implementation. It includes 5 objectives and 16 outcome-oriented global targets and provides a framework to facilitate harmony between existing initiatives aimed at plant conservation, to identify gaps where new initiatives are required, and to promote mobilization of the necessary resources. National and/or regional targets for plant conservation may be developed within this flexible framework.

The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation is the first such strategy to be developed under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and provided a pilot exercise for the development and use of outcome targets under the Strategic Plan of the CBD. Plants were chosen as the focus of this exercise because scientific understanding of this group—though incomplete and best for the higher plants—is better than for most other kinds of life, allowing for the setting of meaningful targets.

1st Symposium

Ecosystem services: the role of vegetation, ecological mapping and land use

Chairman: Prof. Dr. Jorge Capelo

Senior Researcher at the National Institute of Biological Resources (Portugal)
Vice-President of ALFA the Portuguese Association of Phytosociology

According Daily, the concept of ecosystem services has been developing gradually for over century as a way to recognize the dependence of human societies on nature based systems. The same author defined ecosystem services as “the conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems, and the species that make them up, sustain and fulfil human life”. The idea is that natural systems can provide goods and services that humans benefit from, in different points of view including the economic, but which are largely unrecognized by most people and are therefore undervalued when taking decisions about land-use. The ecosystem services concept enables local and scientific knowledge to interact to their mutual enhancement and not only allows but also facilitates the work with policy makers, planners, land managers, industry and community groups to raise awareness of the values of maintaining ecosystem function.

In this sense the vegetation role is fundamental in the ecosystems, as an intermediary between man and environment and also in the evaluation of the environmental quality. Besides it acts as an invaluable tool in the management of resources and in the landscape planning through dynamic predictive models.

2nd Symposium

The Habitats Directive - Monitoring and management programs, in-situ and ex-situ conservation plans

Chairmen: Prof. Edoardo Biondi1, Prof. Frédéric Bioret2

1General Secretary of the FIP - International Federation on Plant Sociology.
Department of Environmental Science and Plant Production. Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona (Italy)
2President of the French Association of Phytosociology

The Habitats Directive has meant a fundamental step in the conservation policy guidelines at a supranational level. For the first time, and at an European level, this Directive considers the natural habitats along with the species, as a subject to be conserved.

Under this Project, a classification of the different types of natural and semi-natural habitats present in the European Union member states was established, a total of 218 types of habitats have been catalogued as habitats of Community interest. The next step, once the habitats are catalogued, is to apply them in conservation, evaluation and management programmes In this sense, in the last years numerous researchers from different countries have contributed to the development of this idea.

In this symposium we try to encourage cooperation and sharing knowledge among all the countries involved in the application of this Directive in this type of conservation programmes, directed towards territory restoration and management both in-situ and ex-situ.

3th Symposium

Ancient forests and their ecological value

Chairman: Prof. Dr. Richard Pott

Director of the Institute of Geobotany at the University of Hannover (Germany)
Vice-President of the International Association of Phytosociology

There currently exist relictic forests on Earth that conserve structures and species that give invaluable information of ancient times and make up the oldest and most original forests in the Planet. Peterken defines as ancient or old-growth forests those developed during long periods without relevant human impact and natural catastrophic disturbances. Ancient forests are the planet’s old-growth and original forests. Thanks to their stability they often are inhabited by animals and plants that are dependent on those unique environmental conditions created by these forests.

Throughout the world, ancient forests are in crisis. According to the World Resources Institute, almost 80 per cent of the world's original forests have been degraded or completely destroyed and many of the plants and animals that live in these forests face extinction. In fact, it currently represents less than 1% of the European forests

In this symposium the objective is to share the knowledge relating to the species and communities that make them up and the relationship between these forests and those intervened. To know their structure and functioning could be useful as a tool to develop new approaches in forest management and for restoration programs focusing on biodiversity conservation.


Towards a prodrome of European vegetation

Chairman: Prof. Dr. Javier Loidi

Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of the Basque Country, Bilbao (Spain)
President of AEFA the Spanish Association of Phytosociology

The need to elaborate a synthesis of European vegetation has been a challenge in the last decades and several initiatives have been taken in the frame of the FIP as well as the EVS. Nowadays there are already a couple of prodromes of several countries and regions (Mecklemburg-Vorpommenrn, Czech Republic, Italy) which are joining to the earlier ones (Austria, UK, The Netherlands) which appeared in a previous generation. In relation to this, the Habitats Directive of the European Union has meant an important stepping stone for the advance in this task in the European countries. Nowadays, several countries are carrying out such projects with the help of the vegetation databases which represent a decisive tool to achieve good results. Other countries have elaborated more synthetic documents such as France or Spain, and they can develop in the near future a more comprehensive prodrome.

The first objective of this symposium is to evaluate, from the data provided by the experts, the level of each country and the’ state of the art in the current moment. From here foster creating networks where all the different national proposals will be dealt with in order to make an effort to elaborate a synthetic document that will clarify the complex systematic structure of the vegetation at an European level.