Mediterranean coastal dunes have been highly modified by human impacts and understanding their conservation status is crucial to preserve these extremely vulnerable habitats.In the present study three different diversity indices elaborated by Grunewald and Schubert (Hdune, a modified version of the Shannon diversity index, Edune, a modified Evenness index, and N, the Naturalness index) were applied in order to assess the conservation status and anthropogenic impacts on Is Arenas dune system (CW Sardinia), one of the widest and most important in the Western Mediterranean Basin.Within the system, two sites with different anthropic disturbance conditions were selected; 25 permanent plots were seasonally monitored and the cover of each vascular plant present was visually estimated.The Hdune values were similar between sites and differences were not significant; Edune showed higher value in the North than in the South site with relevant statistical differences.Moreover a seasonal variation in the indices values was recorded, which could be linked to presence of annual plants rather than the touristic pressure. Instead, the small variability of N index suggests that the application of this index may be an important tool to assess human impact on coastal dunes, but better discriminates between sites with different disturbance degrees.Our results highlight the usefulness of Hdune and Edune indices to assess the conservation status of a Mediterranean coastal dune system, while these indices are less influenced by the human trampling at finer scale (sites within the beach). Spring and summer are the best seasons when the main plant diversity of Mediterranean coastal dune can be captured. The diversity indices applied, although need to be developed through further researches, could be a quickly tool allowing to assess the integrity of the coastal dunes in order to plan management actions of these complex and threatened ecosystems.

The conservation status and anthropogenic impacts assessments of Mediterranean coastal dunes

PINNA, MARIA SILVIA;COGONI, DONATELLA;FENU, GIUSEPPE;BACCHETTA, GIANLUIGI
2015

Abstract

Mediterranean coastal dunes have been highly modified by human impacts and understanding their conservation status is crucial to preserve these extremely vulnerable habitats.In the present study three different diversity indices elaborated by Grunewald and Schubert (Hdune, a modified version of the Shannon diversity index, Edune, a modified Evenness index, and N, the Naturalness index) were applied in order to assess the conservation status and anthropogenic impacts on Is Arenas dune system (CW Sardinia), one of the widest and most important in the Western Mediterranean Basin.Within the system, two sites with different anthropic disturbance conditions were selected; 25 permanent plots were seasonally monitored and the cover of each vascular plant present was visually estimated.The Hdune values were similar between sites and differences were not significant; Edune showed higher value in the North than in the South site with relevant statistical differences.Moreover a seasonal variation in the indices values was recorded, which could be linked to presence of annual plants rather than the touristic pressure. Instead, the small variability of N index suggests that the application of this index may be an important tool to assess human impact on coastal dunes, but better discriminates between sites with different disturbance degrees.Our results highlight the usefulness of Hdune and Edune indices to assess the conservation status of a Mediterranean coastal dune system, while these indices are less influenced by the human trampling at finer scale (sites within the beach). Spring and summer are the best seasons when the main plant diversity of Mediterranean coastal dune can be captured. The diversity indices applied, although need to be developed through further researches, could be a quickly tool allowing to assess the integrity of the coastal dunes in order to plan management actions of these complex and threatened ecosystems.
CONSERVATION, DIVERSITY INDICES, HUMAN IMPACT, MEDITERRANEAN COASTAL DUNE, SARDINIA, VEGETATION, AQUATIC SCIENCE, OCEANOGRAPHY
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/193102
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