Plant species richness, biogeographic and conservation interest of the vascular flora of the satellite islands of Sicily: patterns, driving forces and threats.

Risultato della ricerca: Other

Abstract

The vascular flora has been investigated on about 60 of the approximately100 islands and islets of the Sicilian archipelago. This paper provides detailedinformation on the number of exclusive, rare, or threatened vascular plantsliving on these islands and islets. Focusing on the 18 most-investigated islets,we evaluate the extent to which species richness, rate of endemism, numberof alien plants, and number of terrestrial habitats have been influenced by1) geographical setting, 2) geological history, 3) geo-pedological variability,4) bioclimate, 5) number and patchiness of local plant communities, and 6)natural and human disturbance history and regime. Special attention is directedto the rarefaction and extinction of many interesting species that live or havelived only on these islands. Rarefaction and extinction are mostly linked tothe increase in anthropogenic disturbance, which have caused the destruction,degradation, and/or fragmentation of many plant communities and especiallythose associated with rocky or sandy shores and temporary ponds. Interestingly,in some cases extinction has resulted from a reduction in certain humanactivities. For example, many noteworthy species are disappearing with theabandonment of traditional land uses that created low-impact agro-ecosystems,new microhabitats (e.g., stone walls), and open semi-natural habitats (includingvineyards, cereal crops, olive groves, and fallows subject to extensive grazing).Finally, we emphasize the need for current information about speciesturnover, invasion processes, and demographic patterns of the vascular floraof those islands and islets that support the most fragile communities and/orspecies.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Pagine201-238
Numero di pagine38
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2013

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