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Battisti C.,Environmental Service Protected Areas regional Parks
Rendiconti Lincei | Year: 2011

In an archipelago of marshland fragments in Central Tyrrhenian Italy, we calculated the frequency of occurrence (i.e., the probability that an individual of a sensitive species occurs in a fragment of determined size area) of a set of water-related breeding bird species. Only one species (Cettia cetti) occurred in marshland fragments within the 0-1 size area class while all species were present in larger size classes. Acrocephalus scirpaceus is the only species that showed a significant increase in frequency of occurrence moving from 0-1 to 1-10 ha size area classes. However, our study supports the hypothesis that the frequency of occurrence of several other area-sensitive species (e.g., Tachybaptus ruficollis, Ixobrychus minutus, Gallinula chloropus, Fulica atra) increases toward larger size area classes, although these trends here are not significant. Therefore, the frequency of occurrence of these species should be a focus of further research in a wider range of marshland fragments. These results will be useful in terms of wetland management implications (e.g., selection of suitable fragments for sensitive species). © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Arca E.,Environmental Education Center Cascata Delle Marmore | Battisti C.,Environmental Service Protected Areas regional Parks | Fraticelli F.,Fondazione Bioparco di Rome
Vie et Milieu | Year: 2012

We carried out a study on breeding bird communities occurring in an archipelago of 32 holm oak fragments in an urbanized landscape (Rome, central Italy). The log-transformed species-area relationship is comparable with other "insular" situations obtained from analogous mainland fragmented landscapes. We observed a quick decrease of species number when area size is lower than 2 hectares, with a significant threshold at 1 ha, unlike rural areas in which a quick species decrement occurs on a higher area size range (< 10 hectares). Species appear differently sensitive to area size of the fragments with significant responses in Dendrocopos major, Aegithalos caudatus, Sitta europaea, Parus major, Certhia brachydactyla and Fringilla coelebs. Considering the recreational role of the biodiversity for human populations inhabiting large metropolitan areas, the threshold in size (about 1 ha in fragment area) evidenced in this study may be useful for urban park management strategies.

Marini F.,Environmental Service Protected Areas Regional Parks | Ceccobelli S.,Environmental Education Center | Battisti C.,Environmental Service Protected Areas Regional Parks
Wetlands Ecology and Management | Year: 2011

Following an apparent increase of local population density of coypu (Myocastor coypus) in a Mediterranean remnant wetland, we developed a pilot study aimed to evaluate a specific control program. Inside the study area, we performed three transects per month from August 2008 to July 2009, grouping data in bimonthly periods. The water level in the study area showed a maximum in December-January, significantly decreasing from late spring to summer and significantly increasing from late summer to winter. Sampled individuals mainly occurred in Phragmites reed beds and in rush beds (dominance of Carex sp., Juncus sp. Bolboschoenus sp.). The index of mean relative density of coypu individuals ranged between 1.40 (February-March) and 5.72 (October-November) with an evident increase in late summer-autumn. During this period, mean density of runways was higher in reed beds than in rush beds, with differences tending to significance. In summer, the network of channels in reed beds, locally used for fishery farm, may maintain a water level suitable for the coypu. These results (preference for reed beds and increase of coypu density in late summer-autumn) should be considered when coypu populations are under control program, at least in the Mediterranean region where there is a scarcity of available data. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

CESCHlN S.,Third University of Rome | Cancellieri L.,Third University of Rome | Caneva G.,Third University of Rome | Battisti C.,Environmental Service Protected Areas Regional Parks
Vie et Milieu | Year: 2012

In this study we analyzed species-area relationships in vascular plant assemblages occurring in a set of archaeological sites in Rome. The relationship was investigated both for total species richness and for richness of habitat-related guilds, also controlling the role of habitat heterogeneity at site scale. By floristic sampling, we obtained 585 plant species, about 50% of the spontaneous flora of Rome. The power equation between total site area and total species number showed a weak relationship (R2 = 0.36) but when considering the relationship between total site area and species number of each habitat guild, the regression value increased as human disturbance decreased (woods and uncultivated lands vs synanthropic and cultivated lands). When controlling for patch heterogeneity, we observed significant correlations between species number of three guilds linked to woods, shrubs and uncultivated lands and their site areas. The investigated archaeological sites, despite their spatial arrangement dispersed in an urban matrix, do not respond to classical rules of insular biogeography theory, at least when we consider all species. Species-area relationships were significant only in semi-natural habitat guilds, especially when we control for habitat heterogeneity. The patterns observed in both total species richness and more synanthropic habitat guilds are probably affected less by biogeographic processes when compared to stochastic processes at patch scale (e.g., site-specific anthropic management) that locally may drive within-patch habitat heterogeneity.

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