Analysis of landslides revegetated with autochthonous seeds in the National Park "Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna", Tuscany

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In activities aimed to grass cover restoration of landslides, the use of seed mixtures of local, autochthonous species instead of common forage species is a technical choice that faces two difficulties: the scarce availability of seed material and its high costs. For these reasons their utilization is commonly restricted to situations characterised by high ecological or aesthetic value. This paper reports the results of a study carried out on several landslides revegetated in different years of an area located within the “Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna” National Park. In these sites the revegetation activities were performed using a mixture of native seeds collected from close natural grasslands. The aim of this work was to evaluate the success of the grass cover recovery and to obtain information on the evolution of species composition in the restored plant community. Data collection was aimed to assess the ground cover, the presence of the different species, the floristic richness and the recolonization by autochthonous species. Results showed a fairly good success in the recovery and a strong persistence of a single species largely represented in the original mixtures (Festuca gr. rubra). Evidence reported here suggests that plant community evolution is strongly dependent on local environmental conditions. L’area oggetto di studio è situata all’interno del territorio del Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna. La gestione dell’area e dei lavori di sistemazione delle frane è affidata al C.F.S. - Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversità di Pratovecchio (AR) che procede annualmente alla raccolta diretta del seme prelevandolo da praterie di altitudine (circa 1300 m s.l.m.) per creare scorte di materiale vegetale autoctono da utilizzare negli inerbimenti. La raccolta prevede lo sfalcio a mano di mazzetti delle piante presenti, prevalentemente graminacee, che vengono poi posti ad essiccare e da cui si estrae, tramite battitura, il seme. Il materiale ha una composizione che varia in funzione dell’andamento stagionale, del periodo di raccolta e della capacità dell’operaio ed è costituito per la maggior parte da seme di Festuca gr. rubra. Questo miscuglio viene poi conservato fino al momento dell’esecuzione dei lavori. Indagini condotte su alcuni campioni di materiale raccolto negli anni 2002 e 2003 hanno messo in evidenza la seguente composizione percentuale media: Festuca gr. rubra 84%, Avenellaflexuosa 11% e Poa trivialis 4%, mentre il restante 1% è costituto da altre specie (Briza media, Luzula campestris e Taraxacum officinale).

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... Su ogni tratto di pista è stato eseguito il rilevamento della composizione botanica presente tramite rilievi lineari (Daget & Poissonet 1971) con i quali è stato possibile ottenere la percentuale di presenza delle specie rilevate, o contributo specifico (CS), ed il numero delle specie presenti all'interno di ogni linea di flora. Inoltre è stato effettuato anche il rilevamento della copertura (mediante stima visiva) del cotico erboso presente sul tracciato inerbito, secondo una metodologia già validamente adottata in contesti simili (Argenti et al. 2006). ...
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Revegetation of ski slopes is a useful technique to limit soil erosion, reduce the visual impact of the tracks and lengthen the duration of snow cover. Restoration is often performed with commercial forage mixtures with the aim of creating a fast soil cover, then allowing the natural recolonization of artificial swards in the mid-long term. To investigate on the recolonization dynamics, data were collected from 21 different plots from the Alps and the Apennines (Valtellina, Plan de Corones, Sappada, Cimone). Knowledge of both the original mixtures used for restoration and the timespan since intervention (ranging from 1 to 21 years) allowed to throw light on the naturalization process for the studied plots. Ground cover, floristic richness and relative presence of sown and native species were measured along linear transects established on the analyzed ski tracks. Results showed the effectiveness of plant restoration, in terms of soil coverage and (in some cases) persistence of species of the original mixtures. Recovery of autochthonous species was strongly affected by site elevation and time elapsed since restoration. Moreover, the distance of ski lanes from forest edges seems to influence the dynamics of recolo­nisation process. Renaturalization was remarkably faster in the lower-altitude Apennine study plot. Application of a regression analysis revealed that elevation and timespan since restoration may be considered useful predictors of the level of naturalization of the restored canopies.
Seed rain was studied in restoration plots installed in 1985 and 1987, respectively, on an alpine downhill ski run at circa 2,500 m above sea level. The study was initiated in late autumn 1996 and completed in autumn 1998; it included temporal and spatial variation in density per m2, as well as alpha diversity (species richness), and species composition of the seed rain versus that of the resident vegetation. This is the first report on post-restoration monitoring of seed rain above the timberline. Seed rain density and alpha diversity varied seasonally, with the first peak occurring immediately after spring snowmelt and the second in early autumn. The density of seed rain varied between plots and years (1,528–1,778 seeds per m2 in one plot [RPF] versus 1,096–3,557 seeds per m2 in another plot [RPG]). Total species number per plot was nearly twice as high in RPF as in RPG in both study years. Seed rain totaled 18 species; all but one represented either transplants introduced in restoration or colonizers established in the plots soon after restoration. Distribution of species in seed rain was largely asymmetric and only a few species provided substantial contributions. Composition of species and their respective contribution to seed rain differed between plots and was clearly influenced by performance of some species used in restoration as transplants; together they provided as much as 51% of the total seed rain. The results of the study demonstrate that restoration enhanced increase of species richness as well as seed rain in situ.
Little information exists about the establishment of native longleaf pine flatwoods species for use in restoration efforts and as buffers around natural areas in the southeastern United States. Composition of groundcover in these systems is dominated by perennial graminoid species. Vegetation in current buffers is generally non-native turfgrass that can escape into natural areas, often reducing establishment and survival of native species. Where management objectives involve actively restoring native groundcover or reducing the probability of invasion by these non-native turfgrasses, identification of native species and restoration methods is needed. We investigated seed germination and establishment of four species native to longleaf pine flatwoods in central Florida and one species native to the adjacent wetland communities. Paspalum setaceum, Panicum anceps, Eustachys petraea, and Eragrostis refracta were directly seeded, and P. distichum was planted as sprigs into three former P. notatum pastures. Irrigation, fertilization, weed control, and mowing treatments were assessed in terms of cover development of the sown species. Paspalum distichum developed the highest percent cover—over 80% in wet areas after 1 year. Mowing had mixed impacts depending on the species, and fertilization never significantly increased cover. Directly seeded species developed sparse cover (0–40%), probably as a result of drought conditions. However, E. petraea and E. refracta appeared more promising for use on rights-of-way when using high sowing rates. A second experiment conducted on a roadside included these two species and sprigged P. distichum. Both E. petraea and P. distichum developed more than 45% cover on the roadside. Establishment of these natives from seed or sprigs was significantly enhanced when site preparation effectively reduced the seedbank of other species present in the soil.