Acer-Fraxinus dominated woods of the Italian peninsula: a floristic and phytogeographical analysis
Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae
Forest communities dominated by noble broad-leaved trees (maple, lime and ash) in Europe are of elevated scientific and conservation interest for the European Union. In this paper, we first present a synthesis of the maple and ash forests in peninsular Italy. By classifying these forests, we distinguish seven main groups for the territory, which only broadly match the syntaxa proposed in the literature. The variability of the Apennine data is then analysed floristically and phytogeographically
... (using chorological components) in a central-southern European context, using numerical classification, INSPAN, and direct ordination of several synoptic tables. These analyses allow us to identify six different groups of European Acer-Fraxinus communities. Canonical Variates Analysis (CVA) of the geographical components confirms the existence of distinct phytogeographical groups. In particular, we highlight the clear distinction between central European (including the Alps) and southern European coenoses. Among the latter there was a clear floristic and chorological distinction between Balkan and Apennine groups. These results reflect the biogeographical subdivisions of Europe, but do not support the syntaxonomical schemes proposed by other authors, which are based only on floristic-ecological information or (recently) use a smaller data set of Italian relevés. This study also shows that syntaxonomical schemes above the association level should pay more attention to phytogeographical aspects rather than focus on floristic-ecological information alone, in order to propose models that are of value on a geographical scale.