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Plant Sociology 53 (1) 2016

pag. 5-43: Contribution to the phytosociological characterization of the forest vegetation of the Sicani Mountains (inland of north-western Sicily)

L. Gianguzzi1 , P. Cuttonaro1, D. Cusimano1, S. Romano2

1Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, Via Archirafi 38, I-90123 Palermo, Italy.

2Department of Earth and Marine Sciences, University of Palermo, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2016531/02

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The results of a phytosociological survey on the main forest vegetation aspects of the Sicani Mountains (inland of north-western Sicily), in turn included in the homonymous Regional Park recently established, are presented. This expansive territory (43,687 hectares), located between the
Agrigento and Palermo provinces, is mainly composed by carbonate and silico-carbonate formations of the Sicani Units, whose highest peaks are represented by Mount Cammarata (1578 m a.s.l.), Mount delle Rose (1436 m), Pizzo Cangialoso (1420 m) and Mount Pernice (1393 m). Under the bioclimatic aspect, the area falls within the thermo- and supramediterranean belts, with ombrotype ranging from upper dry (annual average rainfall of about 550 mm) in the southern and western slopes, to upper subhumid (annual average rainfall of 800-1000 mm) – sometimes tending towards the wet – in the cacuminal part of the aforecited elevations. Many plant communities were identified and surveyed, several of which are described as new syntaxa; in particular they are some maquis associations [1) Rhamno alaterni-Euphorbietum dendroidis Géhu & Biondi 1997, with the subassociations typicum, phlomidetosum fruticosae (Brullo & Marcenò 1985) comb. nov., rhamnetosum oleoidis (Brullo & Marcenò 1985) comb. nov., celtidetosum aetnensis (Brullo & Marcenò 1985) comb. nov., euphorbietosum bivonae (Gianguzzi, Ilardi & Raimondo 1996) comb. nov.; 2) Ampelodesmo mauritanici-Juniperetum turbinatae Gianguzzi et al. 2012, with the subass. cistetosum cretici Gianguzzi et al. 2012; 3) Asparago albi-Artemisietum arborescentis ass. nova; 4) Euphorbio characiae-Anagyridetum phoetidis ass. nova, with the subass. asparagetosum albae subass. nova and loniceretosum implexae subass. nova; 5) Pistacio terebinthi-Celtidetum aetnensis Gianguzzi, Cusimano & Romano 2014, subass. typicum and phlomidetosum fruticosae Gianguzzi, Cusimano & Romano 2014)], a laurel oak community [Acantho mollis-Lauretum nobilis Gianguzzi, D’Amico & Romano 2010], some holm oak communities [7) Ampelodesmo mauritanici-Quercetum ilicis ass. nova hoc loco, with the subass.
typicum subass. nova and viburnetosum tini subass. nova); 8) Sorbo torminalis-Quercetum ilicis ass. nova], some deciduous oak communities with Quercus virgiliana [9) Oleo oleaster-Quercetum virgilianae Brullo 1984; 10) Sorbo torminalis-Quercetum virgilianae Brullo, Minissale, Signorello & Spampinato 1996], a maple community with Acer pseudoplatanus [11) Sorbo graecae-Aceretum pseudoplatani Gianguzzi & La Mantia 2004], a riparian community with Salix sp. pl. [12) Salicetum albo-pedicellatae Brullo & Spampinato 1990] and some shrubby mantles [13) Hyperico majoris-Rubetum ulmifolii ass. nova; 14) Roso corymbiferae-Rubetum ulmifolii ass. nova; 15) Euphorbio characiae-Prunetum spinosae ass. nova; 16) Roso siculae-Prunetum spinosae ass. nova; 17) Crataegetum laciniatae Brullo & Marcenò in Brullo 1984]. A new alliance with a Tyrrhenian
centre of gravitation (Asparago acutifolii-Laurion nobilis, in turn ascribed to the class Quercetea ilicis and to the order Quercetalia ilicis), within which the Laurus nobilis microwoods gravitating in the Italo-Tyrrhenian biogeographical Province are framed, is also proposed.


Plant landscape, phytosociology, Sicani Mountains Regional Park, Sicily, syntaxonomy