VIOLA – Database of High Mountain Vegetation of Central Apennines
Stanisci, Angela; Evangelista, Alberto; Frate, Ludovico; Stinca, Adriano; Carranza, Maria Laura
The database of high mountain vegetation of central Apennines, hereafter called VIOLA (GIVD ID EU-IT-019), includes published and unpublished phytosociological relevés of high elevation habitats occurring in central Italy (Gran Sasso, Majella, Matese, Meta, Velino Mountains). VIOLA, digitised into TURBOVEG, is the first standardised and exchangeable database on Mediterranean high-elevation vegetation of Italy. It includes 1687 relevés collected during the period 1955–2014, containing 670 taxa, and such numbers will increase as new vegetation data becomes available. The relevés are distributed above the treeline (between 1600 to 2900 m a. s. l.) and refer to the dwarf shrublands, the oro-mediterranean grasslands and high elevation scree and cliff vegetation. Most of the relevés are georeferenced to different levels of accuracy using information from toponyms, altitude, slope, aspect and, if available, GPS coordinates. We followed Conti et al. (2005, 2007) for the taxonomic attribution and nomenclatural updates of vascular plant taxa and, for solving synonymy problems, we also consulted other national and international vascular plants checklists. For each taxon, the cover/ abundance value recorded in the relevés is reported. In addition, the Ellenberg indicator values, life form and chorotype are described. Where appropriate, the corresponding EC habitat (92/43/EEC Habitats Directive) is assigned to each vegetation relevé. Currently, VIOLA includes vegetation relevés belonging to 7 EC habitats (4060, 4070*, 6170, 6210, 6230*, 8120, 8210). VIOLA offers a sound baseline for carrying out a multitude of ecological studies, and is an efficient tool for analyzing EC habitat distribution over time. Moreover, it provides useful information on shifts in altitudinal distribution of plant taxa resulting from global warming (thermophilization process) and land use changes. The VIOLA database is included in the European Vegetation Archive (EVA, www.euroveg.org) and in the Italian national vegetation database (VegItaly, www.vegitaly.it, EU-IT-001).