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Fitosociologia 48 (2) S1 2011

pag. 47-54: Vegetation series: a tool for the assessment of grassland ecosystem services in Mediterranean large-scale grazing systems

*S. Bagella, M. C. Caria

Dipartimento di Scienze Botaniche, Ecologiche e Geologiche, Università di Sassari. email: sbagella@uniss.it, mccaria@uniss.it

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Large-scale grazing systems (LSGS) are areas in which land-based livestock farming is the dominant productive activity and where grasslands, mainly of secondary origin, represent the main resource. To assess and make comparable the ecosystem services (ESS) of secondary grasslands, a clear space-time reference is needed. In this context, the concept of vegetation series may support the modeling of the dynamic succession trajectories of vegetation in relation to grazing and land use intensity and the identification of ESS benchmarks (e.g. the potential vegetation). While relating ESS to different dynamical stages within a vegetation series it will be possible to identify which land use types should be more useful to improve the effectiveness of one or more ESS. The paper illustrates 3 case studies in which the vegetation series model supported the assessment of grassland ESS in Mediterranean LSGS.


abandonment, carbon sink, grazing value, Habitats Directive, microhabitat conservation, plant biodiversity