CalMarSi LIFE – Measures of integrated conservation of Calendula maritima Guss., a rare threatened plant of the Sicilian vascular flora

Calendula maritima Guss. is a herbaceous plant species, with annual or short perennial life cycle depending on water availability as well as on the intensity and length of summer water stress. It plays a key functional role within a variety of coastal ecosystems, even affecting their physiognomy. Currently it often takes part to nitrophilous and ruderal communities concerned by high and continuous input of organic nutrients (stranded remains of marine phanerogams and macroalgae, faeces and food leftovers in proximity of seabird colonies, etc.), contributing remarkably to the overall biodiversity of coastal ecosystems. Despite its notable ecological amplitude and its adaptability to disturbed environments, C. maritima has a very discontinuous distribution. In fact, its area has been concerned by strong and continuous regression during the last 150 years, mainly due to habitat fragmentation triggered by intensive anthropogenic pressure. Moreover, recent studies have pointed out that hybridisation with the relative Calendula fulgida Raf. could represent a severe threat for survival of this endangered species. According to IUCN classification criteria C. maritima is ranked to the category ?CR? (= Critically Endangered). The main goal of the project is the conservation of C. maritima; more in detail, specific actions aim at safeguarding the existing populations through the removal/mitigation of the main threats, such as: – Reduction and fragmentation of distribution area and further degradation of current habitats – Genetic pollution – Seasonal disturbances related to coastal use – Competition by alien invasive plant species. In order to face the above listed threats a number of actions has been identified, such as: – Reinforcement of some of the most depauperated populations through plant material of certain origin and genetic identity – Establishment of new populations – Promulgation of a protection rule specifically dedicated to the target species and applied on the whole national territory – Shared planning and management policies of sites hosting the target species populations in agreement with local bodies – Promotion of actions aimed at improving awareness of local people and stakeholders concerning the general issues of biodiversity conservation with special regard to C. maritima

Deadline 30/04/2022

Programme LIFE +

Institute IBBR – Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources

Contact Garfì Giuseppe

Role Coordinatore


Role Coordinatore

Area Ottimizzazione dell’uso delle risorse naturali negli ecosistemi agricoli e forestali