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Fitosociologia numero 39 (2)

pag. 71-93: The syntaxonomy of the mesophilous woods of the Central and Northern Apennines (Italy)

E. Biondi, S. Casavecchia, M. Pinzi, M. Allegrezza & M. Baldoni

Department of Agricultural and Environmental Biotechnologies, University of Ancona, via Brecce Bianche, I - 60131 Ancona; e-mail: biondi@unian.it

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abstract

Here is presented a contribution towards the syntaxonomic definition of the mesophilous woods, mainly found throughout the montane and submontane bioclimatic belts, of the Central and Northern Apennines.
In the syntaxonomic groupings at the hierarchical level of alliance and suballiance, considerably modified with respect to previous reports, the contribution that the Eastern species makes to this vegetation is emphasised with reference to the syntaxonomic units with a Balkan distribution, bringing out the biogeographical connections that assign the territories under investigation to the Apennino-Balkan Province and to che Padanian and Apennine Subprovinces. Previously, these biogeographical links were shown in syntaxonomic terms only for the vegetation of the mixed deciduous woods, of the hilly bioclimatic belt, that have been assigned to the Ostryo-Carpinion orientalis alliance and included in the Lauro-Quercenion pubescentis suballiance, for the mainly thermophilous, pre-Apennine woods rich in Mediterranean species, and Laburno-Ostryenion carpinifoliae, for those more mesophilous and inland. In the present study, also for the woods of the Central and Northern Apennines with a prevalence of beech, it is possible io show the link with the Eastern system assigning them to the Aremonio-Fagion alliance within which there is the new Cardamino kitaibelii-Fagenion sylvaticae suballiance. Funhermore, there is evidence of the co-presence in the Central Apennines of beech woods assigned to the southern Apennine Geranio versicoloris-Fagion alliance. This is due to a condition of altitude substitution causing the presence, at the lower altitude, of associations belonging to the latter alliance while impoverished forms of the Northern Cardamino kitaibelii-Fagenion sylvaticae suballiance occur solely at the higher altitudes.
Also for the woods of Turkey oak and European ash with the abundant presence of European hornbeam, the connection with the Eastern formation is proposed, assigning them to the Erythronio dentis-canis-Carpinion betuli alliance, for which can be found in Italy the Asparago tenuifolii-Carpinenion betuli suballiance for the Padanian Subprovince, and Pulmonario apenninae-Carpinenion betuli for that of the Apennines.
The syntaxonomical scheme for the communities discussed in the text and others meaningfull for the studied area will be presented at the end of this document.

keywords

Aremonio-Fagion, biogeography, Central and Northern Apennines, Erythronio-Carpinion, Italy, phytosociology, syntaxonomy