PHENOLOGICAL MONITORING AREAS (PMA) IN THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT OF FOUR CITIES (PERUGIA, BOLOGNA, THESSALONIKI, CASCAIS)

Plant Phenology refers to the recording of dates in which different phases of the plant's life cycle have been observed both in particular species and in plant communities. The phases that lead to the growth and development of plants are connected and influenced by external factors (climate) that act directly in the induction of the various stages.

To study the environmental influences on plant species and the adaptation of vegetative and reproductive developmental phases to climate changes, in each CLIVUT Project municipality (Perugia, Bologna, Thessaloniki and Cascais) several shrubs and trees will be planted. The same plant species will be planted in three areas per municipality to study biological trends in each sit, in each municipality and for comparing the same municipalities. Plants with minimum genetic variability but at different latitude, in different climates will furnish their biological responses vs the principal forcing environmental variables.

In each urban area 3 PMA, large about 0.5 ha, will be inserted with 100 plant/each. In total considering 4 cities with 3 PMA with 100 plants/PMA, 1200 plants will be planted and monitored continuously.

Moreover, meteorological databases will be elaborated for the various environmental interpretations of phenological data and essentially for the plant growth and development modelling.

The planning of the operations from the site selection, position and exposure, up to the plant layout definition and agronomic practices, have been determined by the need to place the identified common plant species in an urban environment that does not negatively affect their development. Furthermore, the locations of the areas are the most representative of the main micro-climatic zones of the 4 cities involved avoiding particular and unique conditions.

Generally, in the PMA, human interventions (weeding, irrigation, fertilization, etc.) will be limited to highlight the "natural" response of plants to climatic-environmental conditions.

The observation and detection of the phenological phases will be carried out by and in collaboration with trained personnel (Phenologist) who with constant commitment and objective evaluation will be able to correctly interpret the development of the plants in accordance to recording forms common to all the PMA. During the Project also citizens/students will be involved in the phenological monitoring activities.

So, the main objective of the urban phenological monitoring will be to increase common awareness in environmental themes involving people in citizen science activities targeted to highlight the importance of plants in limiting urban climatic change effects.

Specific information about phenology, tree and shrub guide species and phenological monitoring areas, are available in the LIFE_CLIVUT site in the section "Deliverables" (Protocol 1_Phenological Monitoring)

Funded by

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