Rogosic Jozo, Michael Ralph, Antonela Musa, Dragan Skobic, Marina Krvavica and Maja Arapovic
Goat preference for phylogenetically diverse Mediterranean shrubs is key to understanding ecological relationships be- tween plant and animal components of these shrubby ecosystems. In this study, we explore the preference of goats for phylogenetically diverse compared to similar Mediterranean shrubs. In four consecutive experiments, goats in group 1 were fed with one, two, three or four similar oak species (Quercus pubescens, Q. ilex, Q. cerris and Q. petraea), while goats in group 2 were fed with one, two, three and four phylogenetically diverse shrubs (Fraxinus ornus, Arbutus unedo, Hedera helix and Juniperus oxycedrus) that belong to different genera, family, order and subclasses. There was no difference in biomass intake between groups in Exp. 1 (17.76 ± 0.91 vs. 15.92 ± 0.79 g/kg BW; P = 0.52) and Exp. 2 (27.03 ± 0.86 vs. 30.79 ± 0.79 g/kg BW; P = 0.12).However goats in the phylogenetically diverse group 2consumed more biomass in Exp. 3 (28.99 ± 0.91 vs. 39.57 ± 1.13 g/kg BW; P < 0.001) and Exp. 4 (31.67 ± 0.94 vs. 45.67 ± 1.01 g/kg BW; P < 0.001) in comparison to goats fed with phylogenetical similar oak (Quercus) species. Our results confirm the hypothesis that intake of plant biomass often increases when animals are offered different plant species which are phylogenetically more diverse.
Goedecke, F. & Bergmeier, E.
Mediterranean mountain forests feature woody species relicts such as Zelkova abelicea, an endemic tree species confined to six spatially and genetically distinct populations in Crete (S Aegean, Greece). We used species distribution modelling to predict the potential distribution of Zelkova abelicea. Comparison of coordinate-based geodata extractions for climate and topography revealed pronounced environmental differences for the metapopulations. Main factors for species distribution models were altitude and temperature seasonality (proxy for west-east gradient) whereas topographic conditions had surprisingly little influence on our models. While the most extensive Zelkova metapopulations were found to occur under locally fairly mesic conditions and comprising a wider ecological spectrum, the smaller populations comprising narrower ecological range occurred at lower elevations and further east. For further extrapolation with similar models for known populations, only similar site conditions allowed for a prediction. Differentiated site conditions in the mountains, genetic distinctness and possible environmental adaptations of isolated populations are to be considered in conservation and management.
The Author reviews past and new causes of forest degradation occurring in Mediterranean basin. A number of the cases examined here require rapid interventions aimed to prevent floods and so-called “natural disasters” beside to increase their yield in term of forest ecological services. With the intention of conceptualizing and proposing the most suitable meaning of forest restoration in the Italian context, the Author lists a series of forest restoration cases by partitioning these in two main categories depending upon the two approaches considered. The first category includes cases where the eco-functional approach has been considered and includes: forest burned areas, degraded afforestation with conifers (Pinus nigra sl), degraded or abandoned agricultural lands, degraded beech woodlands, mining areas, coastal dunes and invaded areas by alien forest species such as Ailanthus glandulosa. The second category includes cases where a cultural and aesthetic approach has been considered and includes chestnut orchards.