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  • 1.
    Alessi, Nicola
    et al.
    Free Univ Bozen Bolzano, Fac Sci & Technol, Bozen Bolzano, Italy.
    Tesitel, Jakub
    Masaryk Univ, Dept Bot, Brno, Czech Republic.
    Zerbe, Stefan
    Free Univ Bozen Bolzano, Fac Sci & Technol, Bozen Bolzano, Italy.
    Spada, Francesco
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution. Sapienza Univ Roma, Dept Environm Biol, Rome, Italy.
    Agrillo, Emiliano
    Sapienza Univ Roma, Dept Environm Biol, Rome, Italy.
    Wellstein, Camilla
    Free Univ Bozen Bolzano, Fac Sci & Technol, Bozen Bolzano, Italy.
    Ancient refugia and present-day habitat suitability of native laurophylls in Italy2019In: Journal of Vegetation Science, ISSN 1100-9233, E-ISSN 1654-1103, Vol. 30, no 3, p. 564-574Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Questions European native laurophyllous species are interesting for their biogeography and evolutionary history, as well as for their responses to global changes. We identified Italian native laurophylls on the basis of morphology, biogeographical history and ecological niche to study whether these species are in equilibrium with the present-day climate. Furthermore, we localized Quaternary refugia and areas of potential spread of native laurophylls using distribution patterns of realized and potential aggregations of native laurophylls, respectively. Location Italy. Methods We extracted data for 17 087 forest plots from a phytosociological database. Detrended Correspondence Analysis of these plots with overlay of climatic and environmental variables was performed to identify native laurophylls, i.e., evergreen broad-leaved species of late Tertiary radiation, occupying a warm and humid niche. Potential ranges of laurophylls were calculated using Beals' index of sociological favourability. The realized/potential range-size ratio was calculated for each single laurophyll to understand whether it is in equilibrium with the present-day climate. Distribution patterns of realized and potential aggregations of laurophylls were mapped. Results Ordination analysis provided a selection of 11 species as Italian native laurophylls. Most of them occupied less than half of their estimated potential range. Realized aggregations richest in native laurophylls were localized in the central Apennines. However, the Italian forests showed high potential for native laurophylls with the richest potential aggregations in the whole Apennines and in the southern Alps. Conclusions Most of the Italian native laurophylls showed non-equilibrium with the current climate, suggesting that late-Quaternary events could better explain their present-day distribution than on-going climate change. Furthermore, their refugia in central Italy suggest the persistence in sites with temperate climate during Quaternary environmental changes. The high suitability of Italian forests for laurophylls, along with global changes, suggests possible future spreading of these species.

  • 2.
    Alessi, Nicola
    et al.
    Free Univ Bozen Bolzano, Fac Sci & Technol, Pzza Univ 5, I-39100 Bozen Bolzano, Italy.
    Wellstein, Camilla
    Free Univ Bozen Bolzano, Fac Sci & Technol, Pzza Univ 5, I-39100 Bozen Bolzano, Italy.
    Spada, Francesco
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution. Sapienza Univ Roma, Dept Environm Biol, Lgo Cristina di Svezia 24, I-00165 Rome.
    Zerbe, Stefan
    Free Univ Bozen Bolzano, Fac Sci & Technol, Pzza Univ 5, I-39100 Bozen Bolzano, Italy.
    Phytocoenological approach to the ecology of Laurus nobilis L. in Italy2018In: Rendiconti Lincei SCIENZE FISICHE E NATURALI, ISSN 2037-4631, E-ISSN 1720-0776, Vol. 29, no 2, p. 343-354Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Laurus nobilis L. (Laurel) is considered one of the most emblematic epigones of the late-Tertiary laurophyllous biome, persisting within the Mediterranean vegetation. Describing its present ecology and coenology is crucial to understand its biogeographical history as well as to develop consistent conservation and management practices in the context of the European Habitat Directive. We used recently available vegetation and environmental databases to investigate the coenological amplitude of Laurus in Italy, and to elucidate significant aspects of its persistence in the country. The coenological amplitude was assessed using the clustering method. Ordination techniques and regression trees were used to understand which environmental factors influence, respectively, the occurrence and the abundance of the species and, therefore, characterize its niche. Our results show a wide coenological amplitude of Laurus with respect to other laurophyllous species, growing within a wide range of forest communities. While the occurrence of the species is limited by winter temperature and favored by precipitation seasonality, changes in its abundance show a more refined pattern. In this latter case, two main groups of Laurus populations were differentiated based on water availability. The first group depends on abundant precipitations during the year while the second one buffers the summer aridity with soils rich in nutrients and moisture. Our findings provide crucial knowledge on Laurus habitats in Italy. However, discrepancies between our results and guidelines of the European Habitat Directive arose. The results presented here allow scientifically sound procedures for the regional conservation and management program.

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