VegeT: an easy tool to classify and facilitate the management of seminatural grasslands and dynamically connected vegetation of the Alps
Alpine pastures and meadows are agroecosystems of biological, cultural-historical, and economic importance that are undergoing profound imbalances and which are in a rapid decline due to changes in management and/or abandonment. The European Union is making efforts to protect this heritage and resource. However, the dialog among the different professionals in charge of studying and managing these agroecosystems needs to be as easy and comprehensible as possible for grasslands conservation/restoration actions to be successful.
This research introduces VegeT, an easy-to-use tool to facilitate information transfer between botanists and practitioners responsible for providing guidelines for the correct management of mountain grasslands. VegeT is a Microsoft Excel® worksheet that allows the classification of seminatural grasslands and dynamically connected vegetation (shrublands and forests) of the Alps employing two ecological indexes: the index of nutrients (N) and the index of mowing tolerance (MV). VegeT was elaborated upon the floristic-ecological analysis of the vegetation of Taleggio Valley (Italian Alps) performed applying multivariate analysis techniques.
From the analyses, it emerged that N and MV are the main variables on which to base a classification system of alpine mountain grasslands and dynamically connected vegetation able to facilitate the interpretation of floristic-vegetation data and to return useful information for management decisions.
ecological indices; land abandonment; land management; meadows; mountain agroecosystems; mowing tolerance; mountain vegetation; pastures; spreadsheetLink