The Italian LTER network is an integrated and shared system for ecosystem monitoring (Long Term Ecological Research-Italy). The research sites of Abruzzo and Molise are part of the LTER site 20 “ Coastal sand dunes in central Italy” (www.lteritalia.it) and include 5 S.C.I. along the central Italy Adriatic coastline. The paper aims to carry out a short review of the main results recently achieved through the dune vegetation monitoring in these LTER sites and proposes a synthesis on the species composition (focal and alien species occurrence) and the spatial distribution of dune EU habitats. We recorded 17 EU dune habitats, 4 of them are priority habitats (2250*, 2270*, 3170*, 1510*). Results suggest that many EU habitats are still locally widespread, with the exception of wet slacks and evergreen woods, occurring only in residual small patches. Moreover all EU habitats host several invasive alien species and only in salt marshes they are almost absent, because of the occurrence of extreme salinity. This natural heritage is therefore vulnerable and further efforts should be made to reduce the impacts of human pressure, through increased awareness of environmental issues and the education on ecosystem services provided by the natural landscape of coastal dunes.
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