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Special Issue "Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2022) | Viewed by 15345

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Pietro Santamaria
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Science, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Via Amendola 165/A, 70120 Bari, Italy
Interests: agrobiodiversity; vegetable production; greenhouse production; plant nutrition; soilless culture; vegetable quality; nitrate
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Antonio Elia
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food, Natural resources and Engineering (DAFNE), University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy
Interests: horticulture and floriculture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Giulia Conversa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food, Natural resources and Engineering (DAFNE), University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy
Interests: agriculture; soil fertility; plant nutrition; crop production; crop management; soil analysis; nutrient management; crop science; biofertilizers; field experimentation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Massimiliano Renna
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Sciences of Food Production, National Research Council of Italy, via Amendola 122/O, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: nutritional and sensorial evaluation of vegetables; biofortification of vegetables; food processing of vegetable products; gastronomy and Mediterranean diet; soilless cultivation technique; microgreens production; exploitation of underutilized crop and wild edible plant
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Special Issue will include a selection of papers that will be presented at the XIII National Conference on Biodiversity (https://sites.google.com/unifg.it/biodiversity2021). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference has been delayed until 7–9 September 2021. Therefore, this Special Issue represents the continuation of the former Special Issue, "Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing" (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/Biodiversity_Agriculture_Environment_Wellbeing), with which the conference was originally linked.

The event, organized by the Department of Agriculture, Food, Natural resources and Engineering (DAFNE) at the University of Foggia, represents an important opportunity for scientific debate among researchers, experts from national and international organizations, and technicians of public administrations on the protection and valorization of biodiversity.

The conference program is based on various aspects of scientific research and policies, related to plant, animal, and microbial biological diversity for food and agriculture, as well as to natural ecosystems.

The main objectives of the conference are (1) to examine the urgent issues of biodiversity protection in a scenario of climate change and food insecurity; (2) to disseminate current knowledge on the identification, application, and development of strategies aimed at promoting diversification in natural and anthropized systems, as well as cultural, and food diversity; (3) to increase knowledge on the function, distribution, and abundance of biodiversity; (4) to communicate scientific knowledge on biodiversity.

Prof. Pietro Santamaria
Prof. Antonio Elia
Prof. Giulia Conversa
Dr. Massimiliano Renna
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biodiversity of terrestrial and aquatic agrosystems and ecosystems
  • genomic evaluation of biodiversity
  • biodiversity monitoring and conservation
  • biodiversity and water systems regulation and quality
  • pollination
  • biodiversity and crop protection from pests/pathogens/weeds
  • breeding and product quality of animal biodiversity
  • biodiversity and regulation of natural events
  • biodiversity, air quality, and climate mitigation
  • biodiversity, climate change, and alien species
  • biodiversity management on a territorial scale
  • biodiversity, territory, and landscape
  • biodiversity and historical rural landscapes
  • biodiversity and agroforestry
  • biodiversity in agrosilvopastoral systems
  • biodiversity in urban, peri-urban, fringe areas
  • biodiversity landscape enjoyment
  • biodiversity and recovery of abandoned and marginal areas
  • species/habitat conservation and regeneration of compromised environments
  • biodiversity, ethnobotany, and traditional cultures and knowledge
  • biodiversity, human wellbeing, and health
  • biodiversity and human nutrition
  • biodiversity and diversification of the diet
  • wild plants properties and medicinal herbs
  • value of biodiversity and of ecosystem services, economic and social impact
  • policies on biodiversity

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Research

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Article
Innovative In Situ and Ex Situ Conservation Strategies of the Madonie Fir Abies nebrodensis
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12643; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912643 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Abies nebrodensis (Lojac.) Mattei is an endemic species of the north-west of Sicily located in an 84 ha area in the Madonie Regional park. The relic population is limited to 30 relic adult trees and a fluctuating number of juveniles of natural regeneration. [...] Read more.
Abies nebrodensis (Lojac.) Mattei is an endemic species of the north-west of Sicily located in an 84 ha area in the Madonie Regional park. The relic population is limited to 30 relic adult trees and a fluctuating number of juveniles of natural regeneration. The species is defined as “Critically Endangered” in the Italian list of threatened plants and is classified as CR-D in the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This article reports the key action undertaken by the LIFE4FIR project aimed at preserving A. nebrodensis, and the results obtained so far in three years of activity. OpenArrays SNPs genotyping revealed a high rate of inbreeding in the natural population and that the adult trees are genetically related. Controlled cross-pollination was consequently performed to increase the genetic variability of the progeny. Outbred offspring are currently being grown in the nursery. Reforestation has been planned by using 4000 selected outbred seedlings in 10 areas within Madonie Park to create re-diffusion cores. Support and protection of the relic population have been implemented through regular phytosanitary surveys, as well as new fencing and video surveillance systems against grazing and wild herbivores. A seedbank and cryobank for the long-term germplasm conservation have been established. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
Article
The Rediscovery of Traditional Maize Agrobiodiversity: A Study Case from Northern Italy
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12110; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912110 - 25 Sep 2022
Viewed by 205
Abstract
Nowadays, agriculture is under the pressure of climate change and new pathogen outbreaks while farmers are requiring breeders to develop more resistant and resilient genotypes. The genetic base for breeding may be increased through appropriate conservation, description and characterization of local varieties and [...] Read more.
Nowadays, agriculture is under the pressure of climate change and new pathogen outbreaks while farmers are requiring breeders to develop more resistant and resilient genotypes. The genetic base for breeding may be increased through appropriate conservation, description and characterization of local varieties and germplasm collections that have never been used in breeding, and which could be sources of useful alleles. In this framework, the present paper focuses on eight maize landraces of the eastern part of Emilia-Romagna, derived from the Italian maize collection sampled in 1954. Landraces are characterized by a short cycle length and different kernel types—mainly flint-like or an intermediate type of yellow or yellow–orange color—while dent landraces are less represented. Pigmented and white corns are absent even though one landrace (Va213) showed the presence of scattered blue kernels on yellow ears. Ear shape is frequently conical, a trait associated with drought-resistance and common in Italian traditional landraces. Genetic characterization was carried out on 529 individuals by using 10 SSR markers. A total of 68 different alleles, ranging from 4 for markers (phi084 and umc1401) to 11 (phi031) and from 27 (Va217) to 50 (Va211), were evidenced at the individual and population level. AMOVA analysis revealed a small amount (19%) of variability between populations, as supported also by PCoA, with the only exception of Va217, which is different from the others, as evidenced also by phylogenetic analysis. Population structure analysis resulted in the identification of three and four population levels, which are consistent with previous results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Investigating Population Genetic Diversity and Rhizosphere Microbiota of Central Apennines’ Artemisia eriantha
Sustainability 2022, 14(18), 11405; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141811405 - 11 Sep 2022
Viewed by 267
Abstract
The present study aimed to characterize the genetic structure of Artemisia eriantha Ten. and the diversity of the rhizosphere microbiota. Plant leaves and rhizosphere soils were sampled from three areas of Central Italy, namely Monte Corvo, Monte Portella (both from the Gran Sasso [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to characterize the genetic structure of Artemisia eriantha Ten. and the diversity of the rhizosphere microbiota. Plant leaves and rhizosphere soils were sampled from three areas of Central Italy, namely Monte Corvo, Monte Portella (both from the Gran Sasso massif), and Monte Focalone (Majella massif). The plant samples were subjected to genetic structure analysis by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. The microbiota from the rhizosphere soils was investigated by 16S rRNA gene metabarcoding. The within and among population variability was typical of outbreeding species. The AFLP polymorphisms revealed a marked closeness among plant populations collected in Monte Focalone and Monte Corvo, despite the geographical proximity of the latter with Monte Portella, a result confirmed by cluster, STRUCTURE, and discriminant analyses. 16S rRNA gene metabarcoding showed higher values of diversity for Monte Corvo (H, 5.7; Chao1, 445) and Monte Focalone (H′, 5.57; Chao1, 446) than Monte Portella (H′, 5.3; Chao1, 275). At the phylum level, the communities were mainly represented by Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Acidobacteria (>10%). At the genus level, the Monte Focalone and Monte Corvo microbiotas were closer than Monte Portella, thus confirming the results from the plant communities. The findings provided evidence for the first time of an association between the Artemisia eriantha plant and microbiota communities. The relevance of the results in terms of biodiversity and the conservation strategies of plant and microbiota communities in the Central Apennines are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Assessing the Benefit Produced by Marine Protected Areas: The Case of Porto Cesareo Marine Protected Area (Italy)
Sustainability 2022, 14(17), 10698; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141710698 - 28 Aug 2022
Viewed by 464
Abstract
The article focuses on the integrated environmental accounting model called ‘eValue’, developed for protected areas and applied in the research programme coordinated by the Italian Ministry of the Environment and aimed at implementing an environmental accounting system for Italian Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). [...] Read more.
The article focuses on the integrated environmental accounting model called ‘eValue’, developed for protected areas and applied in the research programme coordinated by the Italian Ministry of the Environment and aimed at implementing an environmental accounting system for Italian Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). eValue adopts a cost-benefit analysis approach. Financial accounting based on costs and revenues is integrated with environmental accounting, which reflects environmental costs and environmental revenues, i.e., environmental benefits. The environ-mental costs assess the impacts related to human activities in the MPA expressed by calculating the carbon footprint and the environmental benefits of the marine ecosystem services calculated by applying monetary valuation techniques. The values thus estimated flow into the annual flow account, where the value produced (or consumed) by the MPA is estimated by difference. The eValue model was applied to the Porto Cesareo MPA (Italy). eValue showed that the annual benefit-cost ratio reaches a value of 3.4. Furthermore, the ratio of net benefit to public funding is 3.7, completely covering the number of public transfers and thus summarizing the MPA overall value for money. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Echium vulgare and Echium plantagineum: A Comparative Study to Evaluate Their Inclusion in Mediterranean Urban Green Roofs
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9581; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159581 - 04 Aug 2022
Viewed by 353
Abstract
Green roofs (GRs) are proposed to offset against numerous environmental and socio-economic concerns associated with climate change and urban sprawl. In Mediterranean urban areas, to protect and conserve biodiversity through GRs, the use of native plant species from arid environments and with shallow [...] Read more.
Green roofs (GRs) are proposed to offset against numerous environmental and socio-economic concerns associated with climate change and urban sprawl. In Mediterranean urban areas, to protect and conserve biodiversity through GRs, the use of native plant species from arid environments and with shallow roots is generally recommended. In north Europe, Echium vulgare L. is widely used on GRs for its tolerance to abiotic stresses and its attractiveness for bees; unfortunately, since this species requires cold winters to induce flowering and warm wet summers for vegetative growths, its adaptability to Mediterranean GRs has been questioned. The current study is based on the hypothesis that Echium plantagineum L. can adapt better to the Mediterranean environment than E. vulgare and offer blooms to pollinators, thus providing the important urban ecosystem service (UES) of protecting entomofauna biodiversity. To compare the adaptability of E. plantagineum vs. E. vulgare, both Echium species were grown and studied on the extensive GR installed at ENEA Casaccia Research Center, in the north of Rome, Lazio, Italy. The comparative analysis of the GR performance of the two species was based on several plant-related traits, including seed morphology, rosette stage, inflorescence, flower and root-related traits, and their biological life cycle, most of them showing significant differences (for example, rosette area was 1.42-fold major in E. plantagineum than in E. vulgare). The information provided in this manuscript will be useful to update the herbarium records for conservation biology. A dramatic water stress was purposely applied in the GR before the end of the hot summer season, and while E. plantagineum faced with success the imposed dehydration (88.4% vegetation cover), E. vulgare did not (7.5% vegetation cover), presumably because of its biennial life cycle which did not allow it to complete seed maturation (only 46.9% percentage mature seeds in E. vulgare respect to 89.5% in E. plantagineum). In summary, as the main result, this work shows that in Mediterranean areas, the inclusion of E. plantagineum in seed mixes for flower meadow GRs could represent a valuable alternative to E. vulgare in temperate areas, providing a safeguard for pollinators and allowing water and energy saving. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Sialyloligosaccharides Content in Mature Milk of Different Cow Breeds
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2805; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052805 - 28 Feb 2022
Viewed by 492
Abstract
Sialyloligosaccharides (SOS) are bioactive molecules that play an important role in brain development and the increase in immunity in infants. In adults, they act as prebiotics, enhancing protection against microbial pathogens. In the present work, we aimed to analyze the levels of SOS [...] Read more.
Sialyloligosaccharides (SOS) are bioactive molecules that play an important role in brain development and the increase in immunity in infants. In adults, they act as prebiotics, enhancing protection against microbial pathogens. In the present work, we aimed to analyze the levels of SOS in mature milk, at days 60 and 120 after calving in four cow breeds: Holstein (HO), Simmental × Holstein (SM × HO), Simmental (SM), all fed with total mixed ration (TMR) in intensive production, and Podolica (POD) raised on pasture in an extensive system. The concentrations of SOS (3′-sialyllactose = 3′-SL, 6′-sialyllactose = 6′-SL, 6′-Sialyl-N-acetyllactosamine = 6′-SLN, disialyllactose = DSL, expressed in mg/L) were determined using HPAEC-PAD, a high-performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection. Results showed both breed and lactation effects. The contents of 3′-SL, 6′-SL, 6′-SLN, and DSL were higher at 60 than 120 days (p < 0.001), as well as in POD, as compared to the other breeds (p < 0.001). Furthermore, SM showed a significantly greater level of 3′-SL than HO (p < 0.001), as well as a significantly higher level of 6′-SLN in SM than HO (p < 0.001) and SM × HO (p < 0.001). Our findings may have implications for several areas of sustainability that might be used in the cattle management system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Germination Performances of 14 Wildflowers Screened for Shaping Urban Landscapes in Mountain Areas
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2641; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052641 - 24 Feb 2022
Viewed by 502
Abstract
Despite the high biodiversity in the Mediterranean region, the use of wildflowers from mountain areas in urban landscaping projects is hampered by the limited information on their seed germination performances. This research evaluated germination traits of 14 native herbaceous wildflower species from northern [...] Read more.
Despite the high biodiversity in the Mediterranean region, the use of wildflowers from mountain areas in urban landscaping projects is hampered by the limited information on their seed germination performances. This research evaluated germination traits of 14 native herbaceous wildflower species from northern west Italian alpine and subalpine areas. Seed germination in Petri dishes at 25 °C was performed, applying two different photoperiod conditions (light/dark at 0/24 h or 12/12 h). A high rate and rapid germination are key features for seed and seedling nursery production; thus, the main germination indices were evaluated: the final germination percentage, the index of germination relative to light, the time of first germination, the time to reach 50% of germinated seeds, the germination period, and the mean germination time. Overall, Bellis perennis L., Leucanthemum vulgare Lam., and Taraxacum officinale Weber, from mesophilic mountainous hilly grasslands, and Dianthus carthusianorum L. and Lavandula angustifolia Mill. from higher altitudes, turned out to be interesting. Particular attention could be paid to D. carthusianorum for germination synchrony in both growth conditions, high speed, and short germination period (8.5 and 16.2 days in the dark and in the light, respectively). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Milk Fat Depression and Trans-11 to Trans-10 C18:1 Shift in Milk of Two Cattle Farming Systems
Sustainability 2022, 14(2), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020977 - 16 Jan 2022
Viewed by 400
Abstract
Milk fat depression (MFD) syndrome, a consistent decrease in milk fat content, is related to important changes in fatty acid composition due to feed imbalances and the consequent ruminal metabolism alteration. Milk produced in two different farming systems was compared: Holstein Friesian fed [...] Read more.
Milk fat depression (MFD) syndrome, a consistent decrease in milk fat content, is related to important changes in fatty acid composition due to feed imbalances and the consequent ruminal metabolism alteration. Milk produced in two different farming systems was compared: Holstein Friesian fed with unified in intensive production and Podolica raised on a pasture in an extensive system. Milk chemical characteristics and fatty acid composition were determined comparing milk with a normal fat level (>3.8%) to milk with a low fat level (<3.2%) in each breeding system. Holstein Friesian milk showed the decrease in trans-11 and increase in trans-10 C18:1 (shift from trans-11 to trans-10 C18:1) in low fat with respect to normal fat milk with a consequent decrease in the trans-11/trans-10 C18:1 ratio. Even conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), C18:2 cis-9, trans-11, was lower while CLA trans-10, cis-12 was higher in low fat milk than in normal fat milk from Holstein Friesian. These changes, that are indicators of MFD syndrome, were not found in Podolica milk between fat levels. Holstein Friesian milk showed less short-chain fatty acids (9.48 % vs. 11.05%, p < 0.001), trans vaccenic acid (C18:1 trans-11, 0.51% vs. 3.39%, p < 0.001), rumenic acid (CLA C18:2 cis-9, trans-11, 0.32% vs. 1.45%, p < 0.001) and total CLA (0.53% vs. 1.91%, p < 0.001) contents than Podolica milk. Further losses of these human healthy nutrients in low fat Friesian milk reduced the nutritional quality of the milk, while the milk from animals raised on the pasture was of better quality even when the level of fat was low. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Morphological and Genetic Characterization of Local Maize Accessions from Emilia Romagna Region, Italy
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010091 - 22 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 958
Abstract
Italian maize germplasm is particularly rich in local materials and each region is characterized by the presence of peculiar local varieties deriving from centuries of adaptation, selection and cultivation. While the introduction of hybrids, during the 1950s, led to the disappearing of many [...] Read more.
Italian maize germplasm is particularly rich in local materials and each region is characterized by the presence of peculiar local varieties deriving from centuries of adaptation, selection and cultivation. While the introduction of hybrids, during the 1950s, led to the disappearing of many of these varieties, some have been maintained in cultivation by farmers, frequently in marginal areas, as a kind of family heritage. Local varieties were identified throughout field surveys carried out in recent years. The discovery of a traditional popcorn variety over the most common flint and semi-flint materials used for production of polenta was interesting. Since these varieties have never been adequately described and reported in scientific literature, this study was aimed to solve this lack of knowledge on recently discovered local maize populations. Characterization represents the first step of a process focused on the preservation and possible exploitation of important genetic resources. Traditional materials are a useful reservoir of genes for adaptation to local conditions and climate changes. Adequate breeding programs can use such germplasm for developing new and more resilient varieties. These local materials have been characterized at the morphological level highlighting plant, ear and kernel differences. Genetic characterization, carried out on 455 individuals by the use of 10 SSR markers, revealed 62 different alleles ranging from four for markers phi127, phi076 and phi084 to nine for marker p-bnlg176. The landraces are well distinguishable at genetic level since 40% of genetic variability is present among accessions. Five landraces are characterized by the presence of private alleles and heterozygosity levels are generally good. These findings support the possibility to correctly preserve local materials through in situ conservation. Phylogenetic analysis evidenced the presence of varietal clusters, the clearest one formed by three red-pigmented accessions. STRUCTURE analysis revealed that five landraces have a well-defined genetic attribution while the remaining two (EMR04-Mais Rosso di Rasora and EMR10-Mais del Principe di Scavolino) are both constituted by two different backgrounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Diversity of the Seed Material of Selected Plant Species of Naturally Valuable Grassland Habitats in Terms of the Prognosis of Introduction Success
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13979; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413979 - 17 Dec 2021
Viewed by 671
Abstract
The current conservation status of semi-natural grassland habitats in Poland indicates that actions for their restoration are necessary. Many of the degraded sites require the introduction of diaspores of representative species because other methods of improving their condition are not sufficiently effective. Meanwhile, [...] Read more.
The current conservation status of semi-natural grassland habitats in Poland indicates that actions for their restoration are necessary. Many of the degraded sites require the introduction of diaspores of representative species because other methods of improving their condition are not sufficiently effective. Meanwhile, little is known about the diaspores of native wild-flower species and the biology of their seeds. The aim of the present study was to find an answer to the question of which features of the seed material can guarantee the success of the introduction. The study covered 28 plant species of 4 non-forest natural habitats (codes: 6440, 6410, 6510, 6210) occurring in river valleys. Diaspores were collected in 2015–2017. Morphometric measurements of diaspores were performed, the weight of 1000 diaspores was determined and the germination capacity analysis was carried out in accordance with ISTA Rules. The analysis was made with the division into normal seedlings, abnormal seedlings, dead seeds and fresh ungerminated seeds. Species with similar parameters of seed material were selected using the method of hierarchical clustering and PCA analysis. Three groups of species were distinguished: (1) with good seed germination capacity (above 65%), which, regardless of weather conditions during the generative development, and despite the small size of diaspores, can guarantee successful introductions (Verbascum thapsus, Veronica longifolia, Daucus carota, Plantago lanceolata); (2) species of little suitability for introduction, due to the large proportion (over 50%) of dead seeds (Armeria maritima, Linaria vulgaris, Potentilla erecta, Centaurea stoebe, Sanguisorba officinalis, Cnidium dubium); (3) species with relatively large size of diaspores and low seed germination capacity, due to the high proportion of fresh ungerminated seeds which means dormant seeds (Lathyrus pratensis, Geranium pratense). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Impact of Environmental Conditions and Management on Soil Arthropod Communities in Vineyard Ecosystems
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11999; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111999 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1262
Abstract
The importance of soil biodiversity and soil-based ecosystem services in the context of viticulture has recently been emphasized. Over 85% of soil fauna species richness is represented by edaphic arthropod communities. Edaphic arthropod responses to soil characteristics and management practices can be considered [...] Read more.
The importance of soil biodiversity and soil-based ecosystem services in the context of viticulture has recently been emphasized. Over 85% of soil fauna species richness is represented by edaphic arthropod communities. Edaphic arthropod responses to soil characteristics and management practices can be considered as good bioindicators of soil quality. Here, 168 soil samples that were collected from 2014 to 2019 in several vineyards of different Italian wine-growing areas were analyzed to explore how arthropod communities respond to several factors that are characteristic of vineyard ecosystems. The analysis of the combined effects of the primary abiotic variables (the chemical and physical characteristics of soil) and management practices (organic vs. conventional, soil inter-row management) on soil biological quality (assessed by QBS-ar index) identified soil temperature and soil texture as the abiotic factors exerting the most significant effect on the QBS-ar values. Organic vineyards exhibited higher QBS-ar values compared to those of conventionally managed vineyards, and subsoiling negatively influenced the soil biological quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Postharvest Quality Evolution in Long Shelf-Life “Vesuviano” Tomato Landrace
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11885; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111885 - 27 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 849
Abstract
“Vesuviano” or “piennolo” tomato is among the most famous Italian small tomato landraces and is cultivated on the slopes of Vesuvio volcano (Southern Italy). The “piennolo” tomato is an interesting case with regard to its potential sustainability, as it is traditionally grown in [...] Read more.
“Vesuviano” or “piennolo” tomato is among the most famous Italian small tomato landraces and is cultivated on the slopes of Vesuvio volcano (Southern Italy). The “piennolo” tomato is an interesting case with regard to its potential sustainability, as it is traditionally grown in water-deficit conditions with a low fertilizer input. Fruits with a high firmness and a thick skin can be stored for 3–4 months at room temperature (“long shelf-life” or LSL tomato) without postharvest fungicide applications. The aim of this research was to study the retention, changes in quality, and nutritional traits of “Vesuviano” tomatoes over 120 days of “natural” storage. The dry matter, soluble sugar, organic acids, volatile compounds, and carotenoid contents were evaluated at harvesting and in fruits stored for 40, 80, and 120 days. Slight decreases in dry matter content, soluble sugars, and sweetness index were found, while the organic acids levels remained relatively stable. Moreover, interesting increases in the concentrations of certain flavor volatiles, alcohols, aldehydes, and terpenes were detected. Regarding carotenoids, the total lycopene levels exhibited a 1.5-fold increase from harvest to 120 days. The unchanged lycopene cis-isomer levels and the β-carotene/total lycopene ratio is characteristic of relatively stable isomerization activity and indicated an optimal ripening pattern up until the end of the “natural” storage period. These results, which demonstrate good overall quality retention of this LSL tomato, represent a well-grounded reason to enhance the cultivation and marketing of this genetic resource, the fruits of which can be appreciated by consumers during the winter–early spring, when high-quality fresh tomatoes are not available on the markets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Enhancement of a Landrace of Carosello (Unripe Melon) through the Use of Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) and Nutritional Characterization of the Fruit Placenta
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11464; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011464 - 17 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 836
Abstract
Landraces of ‘Carosello’ (Cucumis melo L.) are a typical expression of Apulia’s agro-biodiversity and are consumed in the same way as cucumbers. The aim of this research was to valorize the cultivation of a local variety of ‘Carosello’, extending the cultivation period [...] Read more.
Landraces of ‘Carosello’ (Cucumis melo L.) are a typical expression of Apulia’s agro-biodiversity and are consumed in the same way as cucumbers. The aim of this research was to valorize the cultivation of a local variety of ‘Carosello’, extending the cultivation period and valorizing a part of the fruits that are generally wasted (endosperm). To accomplish this, a local variety called ‘Carosello leccese’ was grown in a greenhouse during the fall season under red + blue and red + blue + far red light-emitting diodes (LED) interlight. Yield, morphology, color and biochemical composition of the external and internal part of the fruit were evaluated. Although yield increased by 26% under supplemental light, the fruit quality was not influenced by LED application. However, the exocarp was greener (chlorophylls) and more yellow (carotenoids) than the mesocarp. Finally, the endosperm, which is the part of the fruit that is generally wasted, showed the highest polyphenols content, proving to be an important source of nutraceutical compounds. Therefore, it was demonstrated that the nutritional value of the endosperm is comparable or higher than the external part of the fruit, but further studies will be necessary to valorize it from a culinary perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Extraseasonal Production in a Soilless System and Characterisation of Landraces of Carosello and Barattiere (Cucumis melo L.)
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11425; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011425 - 15 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 764
Abstract
Barattiere and Carosello are typical melon (Cucumis melo L.) landraces of Puglia’s (Southern Italy) biodiversity. Their unripe fruits are locally consumed as an alternative to cucumbers (C. sativus L.) and are appreciated for their qualitative profile. Nevertheless, they are underutilized crops. [...] Read more.
Barattiere and Carosello are typical melon (Cucumis melo L.) landraces of Puglia’s (Southern Italy) biodiversity. Their unripe fruits are locally consumed as an alternative to cucumbers (C. sativus L.) and are appreciated for their qualitative profile. Nevertheless, they are underutilized crops. For the high variability and confusing denominations, a morphological characterization is essential to discriminate and valorise landraces; additionally, it is fundamental to implement the agronomic technique to allow the cultivation outside the natural growth period (summer) by soilless cultivation. Two genotypes of Barattiere (‘Allungato’ and ‘Tondo’), two of Carosello (‘Scopatizzo’ and ‘Tomentoso’ (CAT)) and two of cucumber (‘Baby Star’ and ‘Modan’ hybrids) were vertically grown in the winter–spring period in a rockwool soilless system in a glasshouse with supplemental light. Landraces were characterized by morpho-physiological descriptors of melon; fruit biometrics and colour were analysed for all genotypes; productive parameters, leaf fluorescence, and chlorophyll content were measured. Genotypes varied in seeds, stem, leaf, fruit traits and they were andromonoecious; Carosello flowered earlier and produced more than Barattiere; CAT fruits were hairy and elongate, while other genotypes tended to rounder and glabrous fruits. Although landraces grew slower than cucumbers, both produced marketable fruits and the production of Carosello was comparable to cucumbers. In conclusion, Barattiere and Carosello have a productive potential and one vertically trained stem in a soilless system is appropriate for their extra-seasonal production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Article
Morpho-Biometrical, Nutritional and Phytochemical Characterization of Carrot Landraces from Puglia Region (Southern Italy)
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3940; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073940 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1031
Abstract
The explorations as a part of the regional BiodiverSO Programme of vegetable genetic resource rescue revealed that in the arenili (sandy shores) of “Salterns of Margherita di Savoia” (SMS), a coastal landscape area of Puglia region (southern Italy), along the commercial genotypes of [...] Read more.
The explorations as a part of the regional BiodiverSO Programme of vegetable genetic resource rescue revealed that in the arenili (sandy shores) of “Salterns of Margherita di Savoia” (SMS), a coastal landscape area of Puglia region (southern Italy), along the commercial genotypes of small rooting species, landraces are still cultivated. The morpho-biometrical, nutritional and phytochemical properties of two carrot landraces (“Carota a punta lunga” and “Carota a punta tonda”) and a commercial carrot hybrid (“Presto”) collected from the SMS area are examined. The study highlighted that the pedological conditions of the arenili of the SMS area are the main driving force in controlling the nutritional and nutraceutical characteristics of carrot, conferring to genotypes grown in this area a high profile in comparison with literature data. In the site of cultivation of arenili, a large variability in the morpho-qualitative traits emerged among carrot genotypes. “Carota a punta tonda” stands for a promising genotype being very rich in phenols (209.8 mg kg−1 fw) (mainly di-caffeic acid derivative and chlorogenic acid), ß-carotene (21,512 µg 100 g−1 fw), and high antioxidative proprieties. “Carota a punta tonda” could be considered as a healthy product for consumers and also amenable to selection for breeding purpose. Increasing the knowledge about nutritional and nutraceutical properties of local landraces may push the preference of consumers beyond the local community and, at the same time, farmers can be stimulated to continue their cultivation. Thus, the promotion of their on-farm/in situ conservation (cultivation) could represent an efficient strategy for agro-biodiversity preservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
Article
Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) Priority in Italy: Distribution, Ecology, In Situ and Ex Situ Conservation and Expected Actions
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1682; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041682 - 04 Feb 2021
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 1662
Abstract
The study presents an updated overview of the 14 non-endemic threatened crop wild relatives (CWR) in Italy: Aegilops biuncialis, Ae. uniaristata, Ae. ventricosa, Asparagus pastorianus, Beta macrocarpa, Brassica insularis, B. montana, Crambe hispanica subsp. hispanica, [...] Read more.
The study presents an updated overview of the 14 non-endemic threatened crop wild relatives (CWR) in Italy: Aegilops biuncialis, Ae. uniaristata, Ae. ventricosa, Asparagus pastorianus, Beta macrocarpa, Brassica insularis, B. montana, Crambe hispanica subsp. hispanica, C. tataria subsp. tataria, Ipomoea sagittata, Lathyrus amphicarpos, L. palustris, Vicia cusnae and V. serinica. Geographical distribution, ecology (with plant communities and habitat 92/43/EEC aspects), genetics (focused on gene pools), property, and in situ and ex situ conservation were analyzed. In addition, with the aim of their protection and valorization, specific actions are recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)

Review

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Review
The Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services of Biodiversity Components in Protected Areas: A Review for a Framework of Analysis for the Gargano National Park
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11726; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111726 - 23 Oct 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1167
Abstract
Protected areas play an important role in the conservation and protection of biodiversity of particular territories, especially of ecosystems that provide resources for living organisms, including human beings. Different studies highlight the importance of biodiversity and its associated benefits in terms of ecosystem [...] Read more.
Protected areas play an important role in the conservation and protection of biodiversity of particular territories, especially of ecosystems that provide resources for living organisms, including human beings. Different studies highlight the importance of biodiversity and its associated benefits in terms of ecosystem services of protected areas. The economic assessment of ecosystem services and biodiversity becomes a viable solution to help the policy maker to make decisions on the environmental preservation of these areas according to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. Nonetheless, very few studies provide an economic evaluation of the benefits of protected areas. To advance the current debate on the economic evaluation of the benefits provided by protected areas, the present paper purposes an integrated approach. It presents an overview of main ecosystem services’ mapping techniques currently available to researchers and policy makers and offers a systematic review carried out for the period 2015–2020 at an international level. The main findings are particularly attractive for the Gargano National Park (GNP) in the south of Italy, which is recognised as being a biodiversity hot spot at global level. The current study provides useful guidance for the assessment of trade-offs, the support to policy makers, and the provision of efficient allocation of public resources for protected areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Review
Assessment and Valorization of Non-Wood Forest Products in Europe: A Quantitative Literature Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3533; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063533 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1157
Abstract
This article presents a quantitative review of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) at the regional scale in Europe. A text mining approach was applied to titles, abstracts, and keywords extracted from articles in the Scopus database. Different investigations, such as concept mapping and specificity [...] Read more.
This article presents a quantitative review of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) at the regional scale in Europe. A text mining approach was applied to titles, abstracts, and keywords extracted from articles in the Scopus database. Different investigations, such as concept mapping and specificity analyses of textual corpus, were performed. Our search yielded a massive number of NWFP-related papers. Specifically, research was distributed in different countries, being more prevalent in the Mediterranean and Scandinavian contexts. Several NWFPs were analyzed, with mushrooms, resin, cork, and other forest fruit being the most common ones. Local socioeconomic improvement was one of the major aspects investigated in scientific literature. The proposed methodology applies specific scripts that can be updated, and the output of the present research can be compared with that of the future works. For instance, interest trends of products and methods can be investigated, and gap analyses performed. Finally, the potential implications of this review for researchers and stakeholders are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2021: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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