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Plant Sociology 49 (1) 2012

pag. 55-80: Vegetation of mowed and trampled habitats of a rural hilly area (Marche Region - central Italy)

A. Lancioni & F. Taffetani

Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche 60131 Ancona, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2012491/03

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abstract

We present a phytosociological analysis of mowed and trampled habitats of a rural hilly area in the provinces of Ancona and Macerata, in the Marche Region (central Italy). The study revealed five coenoses: Ranunculetum neapolitano-velutini and Lolio perennis-Plantaginetum majoris belonging to the class Molinio-Arrhenatheretea; Medicago hispidae-Vulpietum ligusticae of the class Stellarietea mediae; Poetum annuae and Coronopodo procumbentis-Sclerochloetum durae of the class Polygono-Poetea. The first and the third of these six coenoses are proposed as new associations. Three new subassociations, five variants and a facies were also identified. We have interpreted the ecological significance of each of these coenoses through the application of a floristic-vegetational indices system. This method is specifically designed for application to rural contexts. The vegetation communities characterised by the highest evolution level (according to the Index of Maturity, IM) are those also characterised by the highest floristic richness (according to the Index of Floristic Biodiversity, IFB). These coenoses are managed by periodic mowing (class Molinio-Arrhenatheretea). The less mature and botanically poorest vegetation communities are those that have been disturbed more by trampling and soil compaction (class Polygono-Poetea). Finally, we have rebuilt the spatial succession of the vegetation communities detectable on the dirt roads, and we have illustrated the relationships between the land use, morphology and ecology of these phytocoenoses.

keywords

Agroecosystem, vegetation, bioindicators, maturity, biodiversity, management, mowing, trampling