The lichens of Roccamonfina volcano (southern Italy)
Catalano, Immacolata; Mingo, Antonio; Migliozzi, Antonello; Aprile, Giuseppa Grazia
The extinct volcano of Roccamonfina covers a 380 square Km area, partly occupied by a species-rich natural reserve that is currently endangered due to increasing urbanization and human activity. With the aim to integrate the current knowledge on the lichens of this area, sampling was conducted on 25 sites at different altitudes and with different degrees of human disturbance. Data were submitted to multivariate analysis, including morpho-functional attributes. Overall, 195 taxa were identified, including 13 epiphytic species needing protection. Crustose and foliose lichens were the most frequent (50% and 37%, respectively), followed by fruticose (10%) and squamulose species (3%). Most species reproduce sexually by ascospores (67%), the remaining part vegetatively by lichenised propagules. The number of species per station was found to increase with altitude, though a relative decrease was detected at the highest elevations. Both the number and the quality of species confirmed the high naturalistic value of the Roccamonfina complex. Altitude and disturbance were identified as the most relevant drivers of lichen diversity, both being related with the conservation and continuity of the most ancient chestnut stands, a fact that should be considered for future conservation policies.