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Fitosociologia 48 (2) S1 2011

pag. 145-153: The role of lichens in selecting Important Plant Areas in Italy

*S. Ravera1, P. L. Nimis2, G. Brunialti3, L. Frati3, D. Isocrono4, S. Martellos2, S. Munzi5, J. Nascimbene2, G. Potenza6 & M. Tretiach2

1University of Molise, C.da Fonte Lappone, 86090 Pesche (IS), Italy

2University of Trieste, Via Giorgieri 10, 34127 Trieste, Italy

3TerraData environmetrics, Spin-off company of the University of Siena, Loc. Campo al ciotolo 2 bis, 58025 Monterotondo Marittimo (GR), Italy

4University of Torino, Via da Vinci 44, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy

5University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy

6University of Basilicata. Campus di Macchia Romana, 85100 Potenza, Italy

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Aim of the Important Plant Area (IPA) program - integral part of the CBD Global Strategy for Plant Conservation - is the constitution of a network of the most important natural or semi-natural sites for wild plant and fungi conservation. Giving lower plants and fungi the same importance as vascular plants, the program provides to individual countries a considerable freedom of action in the implementation of IPAs number.
Three main principles rule the site identification: Criterion A, based on species contribution; Criterion B, based on floristic richness in relation to the biogeographic zone; Criterion C, based on threatened habitats.
Italian botanists from different areas of research responded to the call comprehensively, including all the groups of plants in the definition of the IPAs. Nevertheless, experts in lichens, fungi and freshwater algae found some operational difficulties, mostly due to the incomplete knowledge of species distribution, the lack of updated databases and official red lists.
In this paper, the methodological approach used to include Italian lichens in the IPA definition is discussed. Seventy two taxa were selected as species of national interest and 21 areas critical for long-term preservation of lichen populations were proposed, including an archaeological area considered representative of cultural heritages as a lichen complex habitat.


Italy, IPA, lichens