Fusaro, Lina and Salvatori, Elisabetta and Mereu, Simone and Silli, Valerio and Bernardini, Alessandra and Tinelli, Aleandro and Manes, Fausto (2015) Researches in Castelporziano test site: ecophysiological studies on Mediterranean vegetation in a changing environment. Rendiconti Lincei, Vol. 26 (Supplement 3), p. 473-481. ISSN 2037-4631. eISSN 1720-0776. Article.
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Urbanization processes increased dramatically in the past century leading to the emission of large quantities of air pollutants over relatively small areas. The consequent high concentration of pollutants and particulate matter (PM) have clear detrimental effects not only on human health, but also on urban and peri-urban vegetation. In this context, the Castelporziano Presidential Estate, a protected natural area located at the southeastern edge of the large conurbation of Rome (Italy), represents an ideal site to study the interaction between vegetation and atmospheric pollutants. Here we present an overview of the international field campaigns carried out in Castelporziano during the past 20 years, and of the ongoing research activities aimed to understanding the role of the estate in the provision of ecosystem services to the Metropolitan area of Rome. The exposure and potential detrimental effects of air pollutants such as tropospheric ozone and PM on natural vegetation have been assessed, investigating also the potential capacity of vegetation to ameliorate air quality under Mediterranean climatic condition. The results show that a correct assessment of the Ecosystem Services (ESs) provided by Mediterranean vegetation must consider the functional strategies that different species adopt to cope with drought stress, including the species-specific response of stomatal conductance to atmospheric water pressure difference, as well as the length of the drought period and its inter annual variability. Our results highlight the need to adopt managements strategies to mainten and implement the ESs provided by the important peri-urban natural area of Castelporziano.
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