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Biophysical modelling of the Astroni Nature Reserve, Naples, Italy

Berardi, Andrea; (2000) Biophysical modelling of the Astroni Nature Reserve, Naples, Italy. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The aim of this thesis is to develop a computer model for predicting vegetation change within the Astroni crater, a State Nature Reserve near Naples, Italy. The Astroni crater presents a complex zonation of vegetation communities, including Mediterranean Quercus ilex woodlands, temperate deciduous oak woodlands and exotic plantations. It was hoped that the computer software developed, termed ASTROMOD, would allow the analysis of environmental and management scenarios in the crater, thus aiding the reserve's managers in effective decision making. ASTROMOD comprises a vegetation dynamics model developed for forest ecosystems, combined with models of environmental determinants. It successfully integrates a user-friendly interface, a geographical information system, a parameter database and a series of programming modules within Microsoft Excel. Simulations of vegetation dynamics using ASTROMOD were compared to actual vegetation communities in the Astroni crater. These data were gathered during a detailed vegetation survey using standard sampling techniques. The results show that the model is able to realistically simulate vegetation distribution. Similar results were also found when ASTROMOD simulations were compared to vegetation communities across temperate and Mediterranean bioclimates. However, ASTROMOD was limited in that simulations of species composition and demography were not significantly correlated with the Astroni survey data. The potential applications of vegetation change predictions by ASTROMOD are for avifauna conservation, fire management and climate change. The development of ASTROMOD is a significant achievement in terms of the user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness of software for nature reserve management decision support systems.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Biophysical modelling of the Astroni Nature Reserve, Naples, Italy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences; Applied sciences; Earth sciences; Vegetation change
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107675
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