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      Remnants of naturalness in a reclaimed land of central Italy

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          Abstract

          Wetlands are among the most fragile habitats on Earth and have often undergone major environmental changes. As a study case in this context, the present work aims at increasing the floristic knowledge of a reclaimed land now turned into an agricultural lowland with scarce patches of natural habitats. The study area is named Piana di Rosia, and it is located in southern Tuscany (Italy). The compiled checklist consists of 451 specific and subspecific taxa of vascular plants. The life-form spectrum shows a predominance of hemicryptophytes, followed by therophytes. The chorological spectrum highlights a co-dominance of Euri-Mediterranean and Eurasian species along with many widely distributed species. The checklist includes seven species of conservation concern, three Italian endemics (Crocus etruscus Parl., Polygala vulgaris L. subsp. valdarnensis (Fiori) Arrigoni, and Scabiosa uniseta Savi), 41 alien species, 21 segetal species, and 11 aquatic macrophytes of which five helophytes and six hydrophytes. This study suggests that irreversible land-use changes in wetlands can lead towards a simplification of the flora. However, despite the deep transformations that the former wetland has undergone, the presence of some aquatic and protected taxa is interesting. From a conservation point of view, the natural value of this agricultural area could be enhanced and its current management partly reconsidered, thus preserving the remnants of naturalness present.

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          Most cited references 50

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          An updated checklist of the vascular flora native to Italy

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            The impact of agricultural intensification and land-use change on the European arable flora.

            The impact of crop management and agricultural land use on the threat status of plants adapted to arable habitats was analysed using data from Red Lists of vascular plants assessed by national experts from 29 European countries. There was a positive relationship between national wheat yields and the numbers of rare, threatened or recently extinct arable plant species in each country. Variance in the relative proportions of species in different threat categories was significantly explained using a combination of fertilizer and herbicide use, with a greater percentage of the variance partitioned to fertilizers. Specialist species adapted to individual crops, such as flax, are among the most threatened. These species have declined across Europe in response to a reduction in the area grown for the crops on which they rely. The increased use of agro-chemicals, especially in central and northwestern Europe, has selected against a larger group of species adapted to habitats with intermediate fertility. There is an urgent need to implement successful conservation strategies to arrest the decline of this functionally distinct and increasingly threatened component of the European flora.
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              An updated checklist of the vascular flora alien to Italy

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                Author and article information

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                Journal
                Italian Botanist
                IB
                Pensoft Publishers
                2531-4033
                January 29 2021
                January 29 2021
                : 11
                : 9-30
                Article
                10.3897/italianbotanist.11.62040
                © 2021

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