cod. 1007241

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Botanica ambientale e applicata (BIO/03)
Discipline del settore biodiversità e ambiente
Type of training activity
64 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course the students will be able to apply the methods exposed during the lessons and applied during the field work, sampling and classifying the vegetation according to the phytosociological method. Moreover, the students will be able to monitor periodically the vegetation in order to follow vegetation dynamics.



Course unit content

Principles and methods of studying vegetation cover and sampling of variables.
Physiognomic, structural and compositional approaches to the study of vegetation.
The coenological and continuistic models. The classification of vegetation and the phytosociological method: theory and practice. Phytosociological survey.
Denomination and classification of vegetation units. The concept of association. The higher units of the phytosociological classification. The diagnostic species and the characteristic specific combination.
Altitudinal zoning of vegetation: vegetation belts.
The check-list of European vegetation and the Prodrome of Italian vegetation.
Bioindication and ecological indicator values. Plant functional traits and strategies.
Fine-scale vegetation sampling techniques. Vegetation monitoring techniques. Monitoring of priority habitats.
The analysis of multivariate data.
Use of instruments in the field to estimate processes and environmental variables.

Full programme

During the first class, information about learning outcomes, course programme, teaching methods and assessment will be provided.
Course programme:
- Flora
- Vegetation
- Vegetation and environment
- The structure of the vegetation
- The coenological model
- The continuistic model
- The phytosociological approach
- The plant community
- The evolution of the continuistic model
- Approaches for the classification of vegetation
- The physiognomic approach
- The formation and the formation type
- The biomes
- Formation types according to Schimper and von Faber
- The structural approach
- The Danserau method
- The structural types
- The qualitative study of the forest structure
- The quantitative study of the forest structure
- The deadwood
- The ecological role, controlling factors and estimates of deadwood
- The deadwood sampling protocol
- The microhabitats of trees
- The floristic-compositional approach
- Phytocoenosis, vegetation type and plant association
- The phytosociological method
- The analytical and synthetic phases
- The identification of the stands
- The choice of plots
- The minimum area and size of the plots
- The phytosociological survey
- The phytosociological classification
- The nomenclatural rules of syntaxonomy
- The diagnostic species
- The fidelity index and the indicator value of the species
- The raw table and the structured one
- The numerical classification
- The bioindication
- The indicator values of Ellenberg and Landolt
- The life strategies of plants
- Diversity and functional traits
- The plant functional types
- The ecological-functional approach
- The main response variables
- Non-destructive methods
- Destructive methods
- The estimation of the variables
- The experimental design
- The approaches of scientific studies
- Mensurative and manipulative studies
- Experimental schemes and pseudoreplication
- The analysis of multivariate data
- The measures of association and the Q and R mode
- The cluster analysis
- Unconstrained ordinations
- Canonical ordinations


Ubaldi D. Geobotanica e Fitosociologia. Clueb Editori

AA.VV. Classification of Plant Communities. Junk

Leuschner C. & Ellenberg H. Vegetation Ecology of Central Europe. Springer

Mueller-Dombois D. & Ellenberg H. Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology. John Wiley & Sons

Bocard D. et al. Numerical Ecology with R. Springer

Teaching methods

Lessons in the classroom during which the main topics of the course will be exposed and discussed with an active interaction with the students. Field excursions for application of the exposed methods during the lessons in the classroom.
The slides used during the lectures will be uploaded weekly on the Elly platform.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination aiming at verifying how the students will become able to apply the methods exposed during the lessons. The examination will be passed when the students reply positively and adequately to two questions on the three proposed.

Other information

Link to the Elly page: