iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


The role of plant sociology in the study and management of European forest ecosystems

C Blasi, S Burrascano   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 6, Issue 2, Pages 55-58 (2013)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0913-006
Published: Jan 21, 2013 - Copyright © 2013 SISEF

Commentaries & Perspectives

Forest composition is a faithful indicator of the stressors and disturbances that influence forest ecosystems, and it should be accounted for in Sustainable Forest Management policies. Indeed, the classification of forest ecosystems in forest types is considered as a key tool to improve the assessment and monitoring of forest biological diversity, and for the definition of management guidelines. Accordingly, the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe has recognized the need of developing a pan-European forest classification in forest types, and has identified indicators of Sustainable Forest Management that should be applied by forest types. The classification of vegetation has always been among the main aims of the plant sociology. The quantitative and qualitative analysis of plant species composition, performed through the plant sociological approach, condenses compositional and structural information within a hierarchical system, and expresses all historical, sociological and habitat factors that influence the actual and potential vegetation. In a modern perspective the integration of plant sociology and ecological analysis represents a key to a hierarchical land classification and to the understanding of vegetation dynamics; furthermore the long history of plant sociology determined the availability of large datasets of vegetation data throughout Europe. Starting from these considerations, in this paper we briefly describe how plant sociology could represent a tool for the assessment of the indicators of SFM that should be applied by forest types, giving insights on how this discipline could contribute to the assessment of each of these indicators.


Forest Composition, Land Ecological Classification, Vegetation Dynamics, Indicators, Sustainable Forest Management

Authors’ address

C Blasi
S Burrascano
Department of Environmental Biology, “La Sapienza” University of Rome, p.le Aldo Moro 5, I-00185, Rome (Italy)

Corresponding author



Blasi C, Burrascano S (2013). The role of plant sociology in the study and management of European forest ecosystems. iForest 6: 55-58. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0913-006

Academic Editor

Marco Borghetti

Paper history

Received: Nov 21, 2012
Accepted: Dec 12, 2012

First online: Jan 21, 2013
Publication Date: Apr 02, 2013
Publication Time: 1.33 months

Breakdown by View Type

(Waiting for server response...)

Article Usage

Total Article Views: 26134
(from publication date up to now)

Breakdown by View Type
HTML Page Views: 19911
Abstract Page Views: 1155
PDF Downloads: 3865
Citation/Reference Downloads: 25
XML Downloads: 1178

Web Metrics
Days since publication: 4191
Overall contacts: 26134
Avg. contacts per week: 43.65

Article Citations

Article citations are based on data periodically collected from the Clarivate Web of Science web site
(last update: Nov 2020)

Total number of cites (since 2013): 1
Average cites per year: 0.13


Publication Metrics

by Dimensions ©

Articles citing this article

List of the papers citing this article based on CrossRef Cited-by.

Acosta A, Blasi C, Stanisci A (2000)
Spatial connectivity and boundary patterns in coastal dune vegetation in the Circeo National Park, Central Italy. Journal of Vegetation Science 11: 149-154.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Anderson JE (1991)
A conceptual framework for evaluating and quantifying naturalness. Conservation Biology 5: 347-352.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Angermeier PL (2000)
The natural imperative for biological conservation. Conservation Biology 14: 373-381.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Blasi C, Frondoni R (2011)
Modern perspectives for plant sociology: The case of ecological land classification and the ecoregions of Italy. Plant Biosystems 145: 30-37.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Blasi C, Capotorti G, Frondoni R (2005)
Defining and mapping typological models at the landscape scale. Plant Biosystems 139: 155-163.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Blasi C, Marchetti M, Chiavetta U, Aleffi M, Audisio P, Azzella MM, Brunialti G, Capotorti G, Del Vico E, Lattanzi E, Persiani AM, Ravera S, Tilia A, Burrascano S (2010)
Multi-taxon and forest structure sampling for identification of indicators and monitoring of old-growth forest. Plant Biosystems 144: 160-170.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Cajander AK (1909)
Über Waldtypen. Acta Botanica Fennica 28, Helsingfors, Finland.
Capotorti G, Guida D, Siervo V, Smiraglia D, Blasi C (2012)
Ecological classification of land and conservation of biodiversity at the national level: the case of Italy. Biological Conservation 147: 174-183.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Carni A, Juvan N, Kosir P, Marinsek A, Pausic A, Silc U (2011)
Plant communities in gradients. Plant Biosystems 145: 54-64.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Ciancio O, Nocentini S (2011)
Biodiversity conservation and systemic silviculture: concepts and applications. Plant Biosystems 145: 411-418.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Cornwell WK, Cornelissen JHC, Allison SD, Bauhus J, Eggleton P, Preston CM, Scarff F, Weedon JT, Wirth C, Zanne AE (2009)
Plant traits and wood fates across the globe: rotted, burned, or consumed? Global Change Biology 15: 2431-2449.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Corona P, Blasi C, Chirici G, Facioni L, Fattorini L, Ferrari B (2010)
Monitoring and assessing old-growth forest stands by plot sampling. Plant Biosystems 144: 171 - 179.
CrossRef | Gscholar
EEA (2006)
European forest types - categories and types for sustainable forest management reporting and policy. Technical report No 9/2006, European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 114.
Online | Gscholar
Feoli E, Ganis P, Venanzoni R, Zuccarello V (2011)
Toward a framework of integrated knowledge of terrestrial vegetation system: the role of databases of phytosociological releves. Plant Biosystems 145: 74-84.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Franklin JF, Cromack K, Denison W, McKee A, Maser C, Sedell J, Swanson F Juday G (1981)
Ecological characteristics of old-growth Douglas-fir forests. General Technical Report PNW-118, US Department of Agricolture, Portland, OR, USA.
Hubbell SP (2001)
The unified neutral theory of biodiversity and biogeography. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA.
Hunter ML (1999)
Maintaining biodiversity in forest ecosystems (Hunter ML ed). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Machado A (2004)
An index of naturalness. Journal of Nature Conservation 12: 95-110.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Mackensen J, Bauhus J, Webber E (2003)
Decomposition rates of coarse woody debris - a review with particular emphasis on Australian tree species. Australian Journal of Botany 51: 27-37.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Marchetti M, Tognetti R, Lombardi F, Chiavetta U, Palumbo G, Sellitto M, Colombo C, Iovieno P, Alfani A, Baldantoni D, Barbati A, Ferrari B, Bonacquisti S, Capotorti G, Copiz R, Blasi C (2010)
Ecological portrayal of old-growth forests and persistent woodlands in the Cilento and Diano National Park (southern Italy). Plant Biosystems 144: 130-147.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Marchetti M, Sallustio L, Ottaviano M, Barbati A, Corona P, Tognetti R (2012)
Carbon sequestration by forests in the national parks of Italy. Plant Biosystems 146 (4): 1001-1011.
CrossRef | Gscholar
MCPFE (2002)
Improved pan-European indicators for sustainable forest management. MCPFE Expert Level Meeting, Vienna (Austria) 7-8 October 2002. MCPFE, Liason Unit, Vienna, Austria.
Online | Gscholar
MCPFE (2005)
MCPFE work programme. Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, Liason Unit, Warsaw, Poland, pp. 56.http://www.foresteurope.org/documentos/mcpfe_work_cor3.pdf
Noss NF (1990)
Indicators for monitoring biodiversity - a hierarchical approach. Conservation Biology 4: 355-364.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Poldini L, Sburlino G, Buffa G, Vidali M (2011)
Correlations among biodiversity, biomass and other plant community parameters using the phytosociological approach: a case study from the south-eastern Alps. Plant Biosystems 145: 131-140.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Pott R (2011)
Phytosociology: a modern geobotanical method. Plant Biosystems 145: 9-18.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Ricotta C, Celesti Grapow L, Avena G, Blasi C (2001)
Topological analysis of the spatial distribution of plant species richness across the city of Rome (Italy) with the echelon approch. Landscape and Urban Planning 57: 69-76.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Ricotta C, Burrascano S, Blasi C (2010)
Incorporating functional dissimilarities into sampled-based rarefaction curves: from taxon resampling to functional resampling. Journal of Vegetation Science 21: 280-286.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Schaminee JHJ, Janssen JAM, Hennekens SM, Ozinga WA (2011)
Large vegetation databases and information systems: new instruments for ecological research, nature conservation, and policy making. Plant Biosystems 145: 85-90.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Sukatschew WN (1932)
Die Untersuchung der Waldtypen des osteuropäischen Flachlandes. In: “Handbuch biol”. Arbeitsmethoden 379, Berlin, Germany.
UNECE-FAO (2011)
State of Europe’s Forests. Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, Liaison Unit, Oslo, Norway.
Online | Gscholar
Verheyen K, Guntenspergen GR, Biesbrouck B, Hermy M (2003)
An integrated analysis of the effects of past land use on forest herb colonization at the landscape scale. Journal of Ecology 91: 731-742.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Zell J, Kandler G, Hanewinkel M (2009)
Predicting constant decay rates of coarse woody debris - a meta-analysis approach with a mixed model. Ecological Modelling 220: 904-912.
CrossRef | Gscholar

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info