We analysed the effects of patch configuration and site history on vascular plants in ancient forests of the Eastern Po Plain, documented back to 1740. Despite their reduced size, all the forests are part of Natura 2000 Network and significantly contribute to the maintenance of a threatened habitat and support biological diversity of the Continental biogeographic region. The presence of some functional ecological plant species groups was correlated with patch configuration and age. Habitat quality, in terms of suitability for forest species, was found to be important in explaining the presence of species of high conservation value, but patch age (as an indicator for habitat quality) played a major role too. For core forest species, patch area is a redundant variable in explaining species richness relative to habitat quality and patch age and the extinction of specialists seems to occur mainly in a deterministic way. Even small forest fragments can be very important for maintaining plant species diversity, at least if they are of high habitat quality and if the forest management is appropriate. However, to achieve a long term conservation, management plans should also aim at an improvement of the anthropogenic matrix surrounding forest remnants.
|Titolo:||Are the ancient forests of the Eastern Po plain large enough for a long term conservation of herbaceous nemoral species?|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Articolo su rivista |