The distribution of the threatened fern Ophioglossum vulgatum L., a plant with extremely small populations (PSESPs) in Sardinia, is characterized by small disjunct populations with only a few individuals, and little is known about its status in the wild. To provide information for the conservation of O. vulgatum and with the aim to develop an in situ conservation strategy, we investigated its distribution, population size, and habitat. Field surveys confirmed that the species grows in only five localities. Two representative populations were selected for this study (Funtanamela and Gedili), and in each population, all plants were mapped and monitored monthly from April to August over an 8-year period. During the study, the populations had a very low number of reproductive plants and the populations appeared to be in decline, with the total number of plants per population slightly decreased in Gedili while a sharp reduction was recorded in Funtanamela due to wild boar threat. A fence was built in order to protect the site from further damage, but no noticeable signals of recovery were observed. The most urgent conservation requirement for this species is to preserve the threatened habitat of the remnant populations. Further field surveys and research are also required for an improved understanding of the species’ status.

Importance of plants with extremely small populations (Psesps) in endemic-rich areas, elements often forgotten in conservation strategies

Cogoni D.
Primo
;
Fenu G.
Secondo
;
Bacchetta G.
2021-01-01

Abstract

The distribution of the threatened fern Ophioglossum vulgatum L., a plant with extremely small populations (PSESPs) in Sardinia, is characterized by small disjunct populations with only a few individuals, and little is known about its status in the wild. To provide information for the conservation of O. vulgatum and with the aim to develop an in situ conservation strategy, we investigated its distribution, population size, and habitat. Field surveys confirmed that the species grows in only five localities. Two representative populations were selected for this study (Funtanamela and Gedili), and in each population, all plants were mapped and monitored monthly from April to August over an 8-year period. During the study, the populations had a very low number of reproductive plants and the populations appeared to be in decline, with the total number of plants per population slightly decreased in Gedili while a sharp reduction was recorded in Funtanamela due to wild boar threat. A fence was built in order to protect the site from further damage, but no noticeable signals of recovery were observed. The most urgent conservation requirement for this species is to preserve the threatened habitat of the remnant populations. Further field surveys and research are also required for an improved understanding of the species’ status.
2021
evolutionary potential loss; knowledge gaps; Mediterranean flora; monitoring activities; Ophioglossum vulgatum L; plant conservation; Sardinia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/316754
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