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Fitosociologia 46 (2) 2009

pag. 3-22: Bioindicator system for the evaluation of the environmental quality of agro-ecosystems

F. Taffetani, M. Rismondo

Department of Environmental Sciences and Vegetal Production, Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy; e-mail: f.taffetani@univpm.it

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One of the most important scientific contributions to the application of the Landascape Ecology’s disciplines is represented by the development of indicators to assess environmental quality. In particular, the use of bio-indicators based on flora and vegetation allowed a better classification of threatened species and habitats, together with a development of specific environmental politics. Despite this, many of the analysis and methods used in several conservation actions showed some important application limits, especially inside modified ecosystems such as farmlands and urban areas. This work presents a method to assess environmental quality inside agro-ecosystems; it is based on a system of bioindicators used as an analysis tool able to take advantage of all potential information brought by different bio-coenoses. Starting from the innovations of the phytosociological dynamic approach, the main objective is to take into account the results provided by vegetational analysis, concerning the description of land units and phyto-coenotic mosaics, and to improve their information capacity through an integration with quantitative data. These data can be obtained by the application of specific vegetation bioindicators created to be used inside agro-ecosystems.
This kind of interpretation of landscape dynamics, especially inside agro-ecosystems, is coherent with the application of European Agro-environmental politics (CAP, RDP, Habitat Dir.), and with the main objective of biodiversity conservation (Countdown 2010). The importance of a knowledge base for the assessment of politics effectiveness is also necessary to evaluate sustainable systems for environmental management inside both natural (protected areas) and agricultural systems within which there are important reservoirs of biodiversity and residual habitats that need to be preserved.


Agro-ecosystems, Bioindicators, Maturity, Biodiversity, Environmental quality, Territory management, Vegetated strips