Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2067/48498
Titolo: Historical ecology identifies long-term rewilding strategy for conserving Mediterranean mountain forests in south Italy
Autori: Palli, Jordan 
Mensing, Scott A.
Schoolman, Edward M.
Solano, Francesco 
Piovesan, Gianluca 
Rivista: ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS 
Data pubblicazione: 2022
Abstract: 
In the context of global decline in old-growth forest, historical ecology is a valuable tool to derive insights into vegetation legacies and dynamics and develop new conservation and restoration strategies. In this cross-disciplinary study, we integrate palynology (Lago del Pesce record), history, dendrochronology, and historical and contemporary land cover maps to assess drivers of vegetation change over the last-millennium in a Mediterranean mountain forest (Pollino National Park, southern Italy) and discuss implications in conservation ecology. The study site hosts a remnant beech-fir (Fagus sylvatica-Abies alba) mixed forest, a priority habitat for biodiversity conservation in Europe. In the tenth century, the pollen record showed an open environment which was quickly colonized by silver fir when sociopolitical instabilities reduced anthropogenic pressures in mountain forests. The highest forest cover and biomass was reached between the fourteenth and the seventeenth century following land abandonment due to recurring plague pandemics. This rewilding process is also reflected in the recruitment history of Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii) in the subalpine elevation belt. Our results show that human impacts have been one of the main drivers of silver fir population contraction in the last centuries in Mediterranean, and the removal of direct human pressure led ecosystem renovation. Since 1910, the Rubbio State Forest locally protected and restored the mixed beech-fir forest. The institution in 1972 of the Rubbio Natural Reserve and in 1993 of Pollino National Park have guaranteed the survival of the silver fir population demonstrating the effectiveness of targeted conservation and restoration policies despite a warming climate. Monitoring silver fir populations can measure the effectiveness of conservation measures. In the last decades, the abandonment of rural environments (rewilding) along the mountains of southern Italy has reduced pressure on ecosystems, thus boosting forest expansion. However, after four decades of natural regeneration and increasing biomass, pollen influx and forest composition are still far from the natural attributes of the Medieval forest ecosystem. We conclude that long-term forest planning encouraging limited direct human disturbance will lead towards rewilding and renovation of carbon-rich and highly biodiverse Mediterranean old-growth forests, which are more resistant and resilient to future climate change.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2067/48498
ISSN: 1051-0761
DOI: 10.1002/eap.2758
Diritti: Attribution 4.0 International
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