As part of the Mediterranean global biodiversity hotspot, the Italian flora is particularly rich of species, many of them endemic to restricted territories. In some areas of Italy endemic plant species reach very high percentages, between 13% and 20% of the local flora. However, plant diversity in the Mediterranean Basin is facing several threats due to changes of the current socio-economic dynamics. Italy is not an exception and urgent conservation measures are needed to halt the loss of biodiversity and preserve the numerous threatened species.This volume is the output of a project started in 2012, funded by the Italian Ministry of Environment for the Protection of Land and Sea and carried out by the Italian Botanical Society, that put together the expertise of more than 200 Italian botanists.The result is a partial Red List of the Italian flora, but including all the 197 Italian Policy Species, namely the species listed in the annexes of the Directive 92/43/EEC “Habitat” and in the annexes of the Berne Convention. A further group of species (including vascular species, lichens, bryophytes and fungi), among the most threatened or endemic has also been assessed against the IUCN Criteria and Categories.Most of the assessments have been made through the IUCN criterion B, based on the geographical distribution. In particular, the Area of Occupancy (AOO) of the species has been assessed by counting the number of cells occupied by each taxon in a 2 x 2 km grid superimposed to a map of Italy in a GIS system. Despite the policy species and most of the other assessed taxa are protected at the national or international level, the data analysis revealed a critic conservation status of a great number of taxa (45% of the Policy Species), some already extinct in Italy or near extinction. Two endemic species are completely extinct and others only survive ex situ in botanical gardens. The main threats to plant diversity in Italy are represented by uncontrolled urbanization and infrastructure development, followed by the impact of intensive farming and recreational activities. Regarding the latter threat, criticisms can occur even inside protected areas, due to touristic infrastructure development and when sensitive areas are not properly patrolled.In the light of the present study, emerges the urgency for in situ and ex situ conservation practices (e.g. seed banking, translocation, etc.), a continuous monitoring of the conservation status of species and populations and a more appropriate management of the species-rich areas (i.e. protected area management, establishment of protected areas, Site of Community Importance, etc.). Finally, a further effort for a higher number of assessments is highly recommended in the next future.
|Editore||Società Botanica Italiana|
|Numero di pagine||54|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2013|