In situ conservation actions and monitoring of Senecio morisii, Sardinia

10 July 2018

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Senecio morisii (Asteraceae) is a rhizomatous plant, 0.5-1.5 m tall, which grows on water courses from plain to montane levels. The flowering occurs from May to June and the fruiting from June to July. S. morisii is an endemic plant only growing in six populations located in the Central-Eastern Sardinia (Calvo and Aedo, 2015).

The Funtanamela population (Laconi, OR) is characterized by only one mature individual, for this reason the CARE-MEDIFLORA team in Sardinia (Hortus Botanicus Karalitanus, HBK partner) started the population reinforcement in order to prevent the extinction risk for this population. 

Preliminarily, seeds of S. morisii were collected from the wild populations and used for germination experiments in order to produce seedlings to be planted on the selected site. Successively, 150 plants were cultivated in the greenhouse of the Sardinian Germplasm Bank (BG-SAR). Two sites were selected near the natural population and subsequently a fence was placed to protect this population from grazing and human disturbance.

The monitoring of the population reinforcement (a total of 125 seedlings planted in 2 different sites) and the fence protection is still in progress. Currently, the preliminary results of the monitoring show a high survivorship rate of the transplanted individuals (> 98%) and the integrity of the protective fence.

 Individual of Senecio morisii (Photo by G. Bacchetta)

Left: Protective fence of the new population (Photo by C. Dessì); Right: Transplanted individuals of Senecio morisii (Photo by G. Fenu)

Monitoring activities of the transplanted population (Photos by G. Fenu)

Calvo, J., Aedo, C. (2015). A Taxonomic Revision of the Eurasian/Northwestern African Senecio doria Group (Compositae). Systematic Botany, 40: 900–913.

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MAVA Foundation

Mediterranean Plant Specialist Group (IUCN/SSC) Sóller Botanical Garden Foundation, Balearic Islands Office of the Environment of Corsica - National Botanical Academy of Corsica Hortus Botanicus Karalitanus, Sardinia University of Catania, Sicily Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Crete Agricultural Research Institute, Cyprus Department of Forests, Cyprus