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Battisti C.,Environmental Service Inc. | Bologna M.A.,Third University of Rome
Rendiconti Lincei | Year: 2012

Habitat fragmentation is a process at landscape scale. This work contributes to reviewing the sensitivity to habitat fragmentation of a set of relatively common and widespread mammal species occurring in central Italy, by comparing evidences from literature to a recently published selection of species obtained by an expert-based method. This comparison allows us to select a set of mammal species that may be considered as targets in the landscape environmental planning and monitoring. For their ecological specialization, trophic level, large home range and other ecological traits, such as the dispersal ability, water-related shrews, forest rodents and mustelids, appear as the more sensitive groups to habitat fragmentation. Considering a sample of 30 species occurring in central Italy, we observed differences between the two approaches (by evidences from literature and an expert-based method), which may be due to incomplete literature or lack of meaningful predictors (bias in selection of ecological traits used in the expert-based procedure). Since in the ecological network planning the selection of fragmentation-sensitive target species is a priority, we suggest further field research, reviews and expert-based approaches on other vertebrates aimed to define sets of species useful to land agencies for monitoring environmental plans at landscape scale. © 2012 Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Source

Battisti C.,Environmental Service Inc. | Fanelli G.,Orto Botanico dellUniversity Rome
Rendiconti Lincei | Year: 2011

Human-induced disturbances induce heterogeneity at patch and landscape scale, affecting plants and animals differently. In this study, we analyzed the diversity of three oak forest patches (one of them recently coppiced) in Mediterranean Central Italy. Vascular plants were censused on a raster of squares of 10,000 m2. Breeding birds were censused with the point-sampling method. In the three wood patches studied, we observed a clear pattern in diversity with similarities and differences between plants and birds. A mature wood patch (Foglino North) showed the highest total number of species (a measure of γ-diversity at wood patch scale) both for birds and plants but, at level of mean species richness (an averaged measure of α-diversity at sampling point scale), birds showed values significantly different among wood patches with the lowest value in the recently coppiced wood patch (Armellino); on the contrary, the plants did not show differences among patches. In the coppiced wood patch, birds showed the highest value of species turnover among sampling points (a measure of β-diversity at wood patch scale), while plants showed the lowest value. Data suggest that when comparing a coppiced wood patch to a mature wood patch, human-induced heterogeneity developed by coppice management may affect diversity in vascular plants and breeding birds differently at different hierarchical level (i.e., α-, β-, γ-level). This human-induced heterogeneity may decrease the α-diversity values in birds, while it may favor an increase in plants. Moreover, with coppice management, species turnover among sites (a measure of β-diversity) may decrease in plants while may increase in birds. We hypothesize that this different pattern may be due to intrinsic characterization of these two taxa (different number of species, sessile vs. vagile strategies of dispersion, different scales of the assemblages) and to different methods of sampling them. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source

Amori G.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Gippoliti S.,Italian Institute of Anthropology | Battisti C.,Environmental Service Inc.
Community Ecology | Year: 2010

Changes in taxa composition among different communities in a landscape or along an environmental gradient are defined as β-diversity. From a biogeographic point of view, it is interesting to analyse patterns of β-turnover across latitudinal bands, and to understand whether P-diversity is significantly associated with endemism at lower latitudes, as predicted by theory. We inspected these issues by using squirrels (Rodentia, Sciuridae) as a study case. Distribution data for each genus were obtained from literature and mapped. The two hemispheres were subdivided into 23 latitudinal bands of equal area, and we calculated a β-turnover index between latitudinal bands with two formulae: Wilson and Shmida's (1984) and Lennonetal.'s (2001) indices. We found that the peak of number of Sciuridae genera significantly corresponded to the peak in β-turnover scores at the same latitudes (25-31°N) with Wilson and Shmida's (1984), but not with Lennon et al.'s (2001) index. We also found that the turnover between ground and tree squirrels corresponded to the grassland vegetation latitudinal bands (around 40° N), and the beginning of the latitudinal bands characterized by tropical and subtropical forests is accomplished with the occurrence of tree and flying squirrels. Source

Battisti C.,Environmental Service Inc. | Franco D.,Planland Organization
Environmental Practice | Year: 2013

Based on long-term fieldwork, we report a descriptive SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis performed by a public agency that manages a protected area (PA) system in a densely populated area (Rome, central Italy) to highlight the core limits in this PA's management effectiveness. The key result of the analysis is that the limits of the management effectiveness and the obstacle in setting improvement strategies can be basically derived from the hierarchical command-and-control government approach and from the adopted management model. The main hindrance to the implementation of a multilevel collaborative management appears to be the institutional stickiness of the managing public agency in shifting from its hierarchical government approach to a governance one. Having observed the presence of operational gaps among the best solutions in the scholarly mainstream, the governing capability of the managing authority, and what happens in the field, we suggest that an answer to aligning these factors could be the creation of more fluid conditions for bottom-up initiatives- for instance, by monitoring the multibenefits of PAs for local communities or by making available to the public the economic evaluation of public goods. Environmental Practice 15:401-408 (2013) © National Association of Environmental Professionals 2013. Source

Mortelliti A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Fagiani S.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Battisti C.,Environmental Service Inc. | Capizzi D.,Regional Park Agency | Boitani L.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2010

Aim Habitat loss and fragmentation are amongst the greatest threats to biodiversity world-wide. However, there is still little evidence on the relative influence of these two distinct processes on biodiversity, and no study, to date, has investigated the independent contribution of structural connectivity in addition to habitat loss and fragmentation. The aim of this study is to evaluate the independent effects of habitat loss (the decrease in total amount of habitat), habitat fragmentation per se (habitat subdivision) and structural connectivity (in the form of hedgerow networks) on the distribution of seven resident forest-dependent birds in central Italy.Location Central Italy.Methods We strategically selected 30 landscapes (each of 16 km2 in size) with decreasing total amount of forest cover and with contrasting configuration of patches and contrasting lengths of hedgerow networks. Presence/absence of birds in each landscape unit was studied through point counts.Results The amount of forest cover in the landscape had the strongest relative influence on birds' occupancy, whilst habitat subdivision played a negligible role. Structural connectivity and the geographic position of the landscape unit played a relatively important role for four species.Main conclusions Our study shows the importance of disentangling the contribution of different landscape properties in determining distribution patterns. Our results are consistent with the fact that halting habitat loss and carrying out habitat restoration should be conservation priorities, since habitat loss is the main factor affecting the distribution of the target species; implementation of structural connectivity through hedgerows, instead, should be evaluated with caution since its contribution is secondary to the predominant role of habitat loss. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

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