Threats to the flora of the Apennines
Species under Habitat Directive growing in these parks can come under threat in the project area.
Threat 1: Tourist pressure
The strong tourist pressure mainly coming from Rome and Naples and concentrated at weekends in summer and winter determines the exponential growth of population living in this area. The kind of tourism not particularly informed about naturalistic features of the area causes a wholesale exploitation of natural resources, for instance by passing through paths by motor vehicles and quads, by parking cars in the meadows, by stamping on paths without moderation, by using bridle and cycle paths, etc.
Localisation: the most tourist usable areas are tablelands and plateaux, on roads and in their surrounding areas, near tourist paths, in towns and their environs, as well as in woods with recreational facilities and in picnic areas. The threat is indirectly caused also by the path system and the brindle paths just next to some important floristic stations.
Threat 2: Wholesale picking
Although picking wild plants in all protected areas is banned and they are policed by the Italian Forestry Corps, tourists and local people often pick or damage flowers or individuals of plant species of high ornamental interest (Iris marsica, Adonis distorta, Cypripedium calceolus).
Localisation: the most tourist usable areas are tablelands and plateaux, on communication routes and their surroundings, along the park paths, near tourist paths and in picnic areas.
Effects: the endangering of biodiversity affects the target species with showy flowers such as Iris marsica, Adonis distorta and Cypripedium calceolus, with consequent reduction of number of their individuals.
Threat 3: Mowing and pasturing
The management of pasture lands and meadows represents a threat to species: mowing does not allow Klasea lycopifolia to fructify; the pasturing implies a series of issues, in some specific areas, for Jacobaea vulgaris subsp. gotlandica, Iris marsica, Klasea lycopifolia, Astragalus aquilanus. These issues are connected with animal stamping, excessive grazing and nitrification in areas where animals remain for too much time.
Localisation: lands kept for bovine and equine grazing on this area whose plants are deteriorating (Prati del Sirente, plain of Campo Felice); meadows affected by mowing (plateau of the Rocche, Val d’Arano).
Effect: Reduction of individuals and of populations’ conservation status; soil deterioration and erosion; increase of nitrophilous weeds; reduction of infraspecific diversity because of failed seed production.
Threat 4: Forest fires
Forest fires are serious threat often occurring in summer throughout Italy, and mainly in the Central Southern regions. They are caused by heat and dryness particularly stressed in the last few years also because of global change. Forest fires threaten these species growing in unsheltered, dry, rather vulnerable habitats on the edge of oak woods.
In addition to measures under fire prevention plans in the protected areas (surveillance, first aid, etc.), other prevention methods are applied, especially silvicultural interventions aimed at reducing species vulnerability. These interventions are carried out in woods that are very close to populations of Iris marsica and Astragalus aquilanus and in high-risk situations.
Localisation: woodlands at a maximum altitude of 1,100 m, in Fontavignone-Terranera-Secinaro-Piani del Sirente of Sirente-Velino Regional Park.
Effects: the effects of a fire mostly depends on its intensity. However, the plants involved in the project are generally very vulnerable and, unlike those typical of the Mediterranean climates, are not adapted to survive a fire. So they would be seriously endangered, if not locally extinct. This aspect is even more serious in local endemic plants, because their extinction in Abruzzo would also cause their extinction on a national and global scale.
Threat 5: Plant growth
The plant natural growth causes the increase of shrubby and arboreous vegetation, thus reducing the pasturing and narrowing the clearings. This threat is particularly pressing both for typical species of minor pasture lands growing not far from woods (Astragalus aquilanus, Iris marsica), and for species that, even if nemoral, suffer from a total plant covering relatively to their flowering and fructification rates (Cypripedium calceolus). It is mostly reported on the edge of the wood and requires light and not drastic measures for controlling the growth of shrubby and arboreous plants so as to keep the tops of plant covering at a very low level.
Localisation: woodlands next to areas where target species grow.
Effects: reduction of target species population in the areas near to woodlands: Cypripedium calceolus, Iris marsica e Astragalus aquilanus.