Detailed monitoring studies on permanent sites are a promising tool for an accurate evaluation of short, medium or long term vegetation dynamics. This work aims to evaluate short-term changes in coastal dune herbaceous plant species and EU Habitats through a multi-temporal analysis using permanent vegetation transects. In particular, (I) we analyze changes in species richness of coastal habitats; (II) we identify changes in plant cover of selected focal plants; and (III) we relate the changes to selected climatic variables and erosion/accretion processes. We selected one of the Italian's peninsula best preserved coastal dune areas (ca. 50 km along the Adriatic sea) with a relatively homogeneous coastal zonation and low anthropic pressure but with different erosion/accretion processes. We explored changes in richness over time using generalized linear models (GLMs). We identified different ecological guilds: focal, ruderal and alien plant species and investigated temporal trends in these guilds’ species richness. We also applied GLMs to determine how plant cover of the most important focal species have changed over time. Overall, in this study we observed that the influence of climatic variables was relatively small. However, we found remarkable different trends in response to erosion/accretion processes both at community and at species level. Thus, our results highlight the importance of coastal dynamics in preserving not only coastal vegetation zonation, but also species richness and focal species cover. Moreover, we identified the dune grasslands as the most sensitive habitat for detecting the influence of climatic variables throughout a short term monitoring survey. Information from this study provides useful insights for detecting changes in vegetation, for establishing habitat protection priorities and for improving conservation efforts for these fragile ecosystems.
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2016.09.012|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000390627700004|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-84991474791|
|Titolo:||Mediterranean dunes on the go: Evidence from a short term study on coastal herbaceous vegetation|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|