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Plant Sociology 50 (1) 2013

pag. 109-119: The restoration of the wetlands with standing waters constituting the habitat of the Italian green toad (Bufo balearicus Boettger, 1880)

R. Gasparri, S. Casavecchia, M. Galiè & E. Biondi
Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, 60131 Ancona, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/08

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The aim of the present study is the restoration of an environment suitable to the particular ecological requirements of populations of amphibians of Community interest. Ponds, pools, marshes, small standing waters, are hot spots of biodiversity. They contribute significantly to increase the ecological value of agro-ecosystems. The study here presented was required by a municipal administration because of the infringement procedure started by the European Union according to Habitats Directive (92/43 EEC) against the Municipality of Numana, in the Province of Ancona, in the Marche Region (Central Italy). This procedure has been initiated because of an alteration of the habitat of the Italian green toad, which is an endangered species included in annex IV of Habitats Directive and of the other amphibians that live in the wet micro-ecosystems near the mouth of the River Musone. The procedure required the definition of a mitigation and compensation project for the protection of the herpetofauna. It was carried out by an interdisciplinary team of experts. The phytosociological analyses of the vegetation were carried out in both the area directly interested by the project and in nearby guazzi (artificial wetlands for hunting purposes); they have shown the presence of the following associations: Symphyto bulbosi-Ulmetum minoris subass. lauretosum nobilis, Cypero-Caricetum otrubae, Eleocharitetum palustris, Sparganio erecti-Veronicetum anagallidis-aquaticae, Loto tenuis-Agropyretum repentis with the Ranunculus sardous variant. Moreover, the eco-physiological study of seed germination was carried out on some marsh plants (Carex otrubae, C. pendula, C. divulsa). These species of genus Carex show a strong primary dormancy that was overtaken with cold stratification at 5 °C 25/15 ° C and with a gibberellins treatment. Following the same methodological approach a study on the germination response was initiated of other typical species of these environments and it has been designed an artificial damp environment at the Botanical Garden, "Selva di Gallignano" of the Polytechnic University of Marche, to experiment with the plants to be introduced in the restoration of the habitat of Bufo balearicus. The investigation led to the suspension of infringement procedures by the European Commission despite the humid environment has not yet been rebuilt.


Bufo balearicus, Carex divulsa, C. otrubae, C. pendula, Habitats Directive, phytosociology, ecology of germination, infringement procedure, environmental restoration, vegetation.