Centro Nazionale per lo Studio e la Conservazione della Biodiversita Forestale Bosco Fontana Carabinieri

Marmirolo, Italy

Centro Nazionale per lo Studio e la Conservazione della Biodiversita Forestale Bosco Fontana Carabinieri

Marmirolo, Italy
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Romiti F.,Third University of Rome | De Zan L.R.,Centro Of Ricerca Difesa E Certifica Zione | De Zan L.R.,Centro Nazionale per lo Studio e la Conservazione della Biodiversita Forestale Bosco Fontana Carabinieri | De Gasperis S.R.,Third University of Rome | And 4 more authors.
Nature Conservation | Year: 2017

Animal body size commonly exhibits a remarkable variation in response to environmental conditions. Latitude, when correlated with temperature, rainfall and seasonality, represents one of the main determinants of variation in body size, as well as in allometry. It has long been recognised that populations of larger body size are found in colder environments (Bergmann’s Rule), a cornerstone of evolutionary ecology. However, the way in which latitude might influence investment in exaggerated weapons of animals has received little attention. The European stag beetle Lucanus cervus (Linnaeus, 1758) is the focus of this study. Males of this species exhibit exaggerated mandibles, mainly used as weapons during intra-sexual conflicts. Five populations ranging from northern Italy to the southern limit of the distribution of L. cervus were analysed. Combining morphological and phenological data, latitudinal variation in body size, weapon investment and activity period of the adults were evaluated. The analysis of the allometry of mandibles strongly supported the presence of two male morphs. Large males (major morph) invest significantly more in weapons compared to males of the minor morph. Consistent with Bergmann’s Rule, these results confirmed that the stag beetle body size increased at higher latitudes (N) and that this increase in size triggers an arms race which leads to further exaggeration of male weapons which is particularly evident in major males. In this morph, the mandible allometric coefficient line was steeper for the northern populations. The activity period also varied with latitude, beginning later at lower latitudes. Characterisation and comparison of adult phenologies provide valuable data to be used in the design of monitoring programmes for this threatened species and are important for modelling the species responses to climate change.


Leonarduzzi G.,University of Udine | Onofrio N.,University of Milan | Bardiani M.,Centro Nazionale per lo Studio e la Conservazione della Biodiversita Forestale Bosco Fontana Carabinieri | Bardiani M.,Centro Of Ricerca Difesa E Certificazione | And 5 more authors.
Nature Conservation | Year: 2017

Morimus asper reproduces mainly in freshly dead wood and, as a consequence, populations are affected by modern forestry practices. The taxon M. funereus, now incorporated into the species M. asper, is protected by the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) and its monitoring has received attention in recent years. Larvae of M. asper are polyphagous, but some studies indicate that adults prefer the wood of some tree species. Freshly cut log piles, which attract adults, have been proposed as a monitoring tool. For monitoring programmes, it is essential to select the most appropriate wood and therefore the attraction of different types of wood for adults of M. asper was investigated in two sites in northern Italian, using freshly cut log piles. The first experiment was carried out in the Nature Reserve Bosco della Fontana (a lowland forest, Mantua province), testing two autochthonous species (Carpinus betulus and Fraxinus ornus) and two allochthonous species (Juglans nigra and Quercus rubra). The second study was conducted in the Parco Naturale Regionale delle Prealpi Giulie (a mountain area, Udine province), employing Fagus sylvatica, Fraxinus excelsior and Picea abies (all autochthonous species). The population of this area belongs to the taxon formerly named M. funereus. In both sites, adults clearly preferred the wood of some particular species: J. nigra at Bosco della Fontana and F. sylvatica in the mountain area. This is the first study which compared the attraction of several tree species and it showed that this selection is important for the monitoring of M. asper.


Tini M.,Third University of Rome | Bardiani M.,Centro Of Ricerca Difesa E Certificazione | Bardiani M.,Centro Nazionale per lo Studio e la Conservazione della Biodiversita Forestale Bosco Fontana Carabinieri | Campanaro A.,Centro Of Ricerca Difesa E Certificazione | And 4 more authors.
Nature Conservation | Year: 2017

The European stag beetle, Lucanus cervus, is a flagship species for biodiversity conservation of old-growth forests and is protected under the Habitats Directive. Although it has been the focus of active research in the last two decades, many aspects of its ecology and habitat requirements for the larvae remain poorly known, particularly to what extent certain factors limit larval development. The objectives of this preliminary work were: (1) to explore the feasibility of a non-invasive method for detecting oviposition sites; (2) to attempt the characterisation of above-ground ecological factors recorded in the oviposition sites and (3) to quantify the number of traps and operators needed for obtaining a number of beetles suitable for statistical analysis. In 2014, twelve females were followed by means of radio-telemetry to detect potential oviposition sites in a relict broadleaf forest of northern Italy. In 2015, emergence traps were set in nine sites selected from the 21 sites where females were recorded digging deeply in the soil near to dead wood during the previous year. Traps were checked during the 2015 and 2016 flight seasons. Overall, 15 stag beetles were detected (8 males and 7 females) from five emergence trap sites which were therefore regarded as real oviposition sites. All oviposition sites were characterised in terms of typology of dead wood, tree species, canopy openness, trunk diameter, dead wood volume, decomposition stage (five classes) and wood hardness (four classes). All the detected emergence sites belonged to the genus Quercus, two being from the allochthonous Q. rubra, but no preferences for a dead wood species nor for a typology were shown and a broad variation was apparent for all the considered variables. The mean values of canopy openness, diameter, dead wood volume, decay status and wood hardness were 2.54%, 51cm, 4.92m3, 3 and 3.4 respectively. These data suggested an important heterogeneity in the oviposition sites selection. Although this method (telemetry + emergence traps) provided substantial aid to finding newly emerged beetles, it required a large amount of fieldwork effort, both in terms of time and man-hours. The advantage of the method is its low degree of invasion while its drawback is the amount of effort needed. Calculations were made to assess the minimum number of operators and traps needed to gather a number of data suitable for statistical analysis. It was found that two full time operators should be able to detect about 50 potential oviposition sites in one flight season, 28 of which were expected to be real oviposition sites.


Zapponi L.,Centro Of Ricerca Difesa E Certifica Zione | Zapponi L.,Centro Nazionale per lo Studio e la Conservazione della Biodiversita Forestale Bosco Fontana Carabinieri | Mazza G.,Centro Of Ricerca Difesa E Certifica Zione | Farina A.,Ministero delle Politiche Agricole | And 5 more authors.
Nature Conservation | Year: 2017

Ancient trees present structural and functional characteristics fundamental for sustaining complex and unique assemblages of species. They are a resource globally threatened by both intensive land uses and lack of recruitment. Their disappearance would involve not only the loss of majestic organisms with high intrinsic value, but may also result in the disappearance of rare and endangered species. Italy is currently implementing a new list of noteworthy ancient trees (i.e. monumental trees) and the preliminary results of this new inventory have been analysed as a case study of a national initiative. The provisional list included 950 complete records, corresponding to 65 genera and 118 species. The most abundant species was Quercus pubescens Willd while the most common genera were Quercus, Larix, Cedrus, Fagus and Platanus. Age and size were the most used criteria for inclusion of trees in the census. The fundamental novelty of the new inventory is that it is based on a set of well-defined criteria of monumentality and that it clearly recognised the ecological value of ancient trees. Preserving a tree for its ecological role requires a profound cultural shift. The value of microhabitats, structures that have historically been considered defects, should be recognised and managed accordingly. Ancient trees are often part of disappearing cultural landscapes: to preserve the richness and diversity of these habitats, new policies and regulations are needed. The preservation of landscapes, where there is still a high density of ancient trees, should be a priority for all European countries in order to conserve their unique associated fauna and for their irreplaceable functional value for biodiversity conservation.


Nardi G.,Centro Nazionale per lo Studio e la Conservazione della Biodiversita Forestale Bosco Fontana Carabinieri | Nardi G.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Biscaccianti A.B.,University of Reggio Calabria
Nature Conservation | Year: 2017

Lichenophanes varius (Illiger, 1801) is a Turanic-European-Mediterranean species. In most of European countries, this species is protected at different levels and it is classified as “NT” (Near Threatened) in the IUCN European Red List of Saproxylic Beetles. In Italy, it is classified as “EN” (Endangered). Its larvae are saproxylophagous and develop in branches and rotting trunks of many broadleaved tree genera. Nevertheless, this beetle seems to attack only wood which is already invaded by the mycelia of Biscogniauxia spp. (Pyrenomycetes, Xylariaceae). The Italian distribution and ecology of L. varius are updated on the basis of recent records; the species is recorded for the first time from Calabria, where it was reared from Quercus frainetto Ten. which represent a new host-plant record for this beetle. Finally, the authors discuss the possibility that global warming can promote a resurgence of attacks from the above mentioned phy-topathogenic fungi in Italian forests and, therefore, this climatic change can also favour the populations of this red-listed beetle.

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