This study describes the conservation status of dune systems in relation to disturbance factors in the coastal stretch of the Viterbo province, Latium Region, Italy. Particular emphasis was given to the bioindication value of plant communities and their sequence. Each plant community was considered as a habitat in accordance with Annex I of the Directive 92/43/EU. Stress factors, such as sand dynamic and erosion, and anthropogenic pressures, such as trampling and bathing settlements, influence the sequence of habitats and weaken the system of relations that makes these coenoses to occur in extreme conditions. The choice to carry out surveys along wide transects, recording different data, allowed to explore the use of habitats as bioindicators. Comparing sites characterized by the same extension in a homogeneous area, it was possible to expand the use of canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) as a tool to correlate habitat composition and disturbance factors. The application of CCA showed a high correlation of degradation and habitat loss with coastal erosion, trampling and presence of waste. Furthermore, floristic surveys allowed the application of different biodiversity indices to quantify species richness of sampled areas. The conservation status of the sites investigated was found to be diverse, from the total disappearance of the mobile dune habitats to their complete sequence. The proposed methodology has been useful to fulfill the objective of the work and is applicable to other case studies in the Mediterranean. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law