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Plant Sociology 50 (1) 2013

pag. 57-89: Biodiversity in the Sibillini Mountain range (Sibillini National Park, central Apennines): the example of Piè Vettore

M. Allegrezza1, S. Ballelli2, M. Mentoni3, M. Olivieri1, C. Ottaviani1, S. Pesaresi1 & G. Tesei1
1Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy.
2School of Environmental Sciences, University of Camerino, Via Pontoni 5, 62032 Camerino (MC), Italy.
3Geologist, P. zza U. Ciccardini, 5, 60043 Cerreto d'Esi (AN), Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/06

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We present here a phytosociological study performed on the vegetation of ‘Piè Vettore’, which includes the southern slopes of Mount Vettore and Mount Vettoretto. These are the highest peaks of the mountain group of the Sibillini Mountain range (Central Apennines), within the National Park of ‘Monti Sibillini’, and included in two Natura 2000 areas. The great environmental variability and complexity that characterises the territory under investigation has resulted in great phytocoenotic diversity, as seen by the nine vegetational types detected here and updated with the latest nomenclature and syntaxonomic revisions. Five of these belong to habitats of European Community interest. These new associations are here proposed: <i>Cerastio tomentosi-Seslerietum nitidae</i>, <i>Gentiano dinaricae-Globularietum meridionalis</i>, <i>Viburno lantanae-Ostryetum carpinifoliae</i>, <i>Sorbo ariae-Juniperetum nanae</i> as well as numerous subassociations and syntaxa variants that have already been described but have not been reported for this mountain group. The intermixing of Mediterranean and montane-Mediterranean species that are typical of the mesotemperate bioclimatic belt with species of the supratemperate and orotemperate belt serve as a common thread in the characterisation of the floristic composition of different plant communities described. This intermixing is also linked to the southern exposure of the slopes, and is perhaps amplified by the ongoing climate change, thus contributing to the differentiation of a unique and original landscape. Moreover, during the sampling of the relevé data, rare species of phytogeographical interest were also found. Among these, Juniperus communis subsp. hemisphaerica detected for the first time in the Sibillini Mountain range, and according to our present knowledge, it has here its northernmost distribution limit along the Apennines. The results of this study have allowed us to broaden the floristic-vegetational knowledge of the National Park of Monti Sibillini, and they have also contributed to further definition the vegetational and landscape framework of a representative sector of this important Apennine district. As far as reforestation is concerned, which until now has been little investigated from the phytosociological point of view, the data obtained in this study provides important ecological information, and should provide the basis for silvicultural renaturation of the area.


biodiversity; Central Apennines; Habitat Directive; phytosociology; Sibillini Mountains National Park; vegetation.