Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Pietro MINISSALE

Expected Learning Outcomes

1) Acquisition of basic knowledge of European, national and regional legislation on the conservation of flora and vegetation with particular reference to Italy and Sicily. Knowledge of the main threats to spontaneous flora and natural, semi-natural environments including agroecosystems and peripheral urban areas. Acquisition of the main methods currently in use for the conservation of natural flora and vegetation resources.

2) Learn the rudiments to understand the problems of conservation and management of terrestrial plants, natural and semi-natural habitats as well as agroecosystems and peripheral urban contexts

3) ability to judge and understand situations of environmental degradation and to foresee possible solutions to counter or reduce it with restoration and redevelopment actions through the use of plant species native to the territory subject to intervention

4) ability to describe with the correct terminology the issues of conservation of terrestrial plants and the potential of restoration activities, requalification and renaturation of natural semi-natural environments, agroecosystems and urban peripheral contexts

5) improvement of learning skills through all available tools, texts, presentations; publications, images and texts from highly reliable websites

Course Structure

The teaching is based on lectures supported by presentations "Power point" containing information and images, mostly original, on the issues addressed and on the case studies. Moreover, there will be exercises on the topics dealt with in the form of case studies and in-depth studies of  bibliographical type or sometimes on surveys in the field with the teacher

If the teaching is given in a mixed or remote mode, the necessary changes with respect to what was previously stated may be introduced, in order to respect the planned program reported in the Syllabus.

Information for students with disabilities and / or SLD.

As a guarantee of equal opportunities and in compliance with current laws, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and/or dispensatory measures, based on their specific needs and on teaching objectives of the discipline. It is also possible to ask the departmental contacts of CInAP (Center for Active and Participatory Integration - Services for Disabilities and/or SLD), in the persons of professors Giovanna Tropea Garzia and Anna De Angelis.

Detailed Course Content

1. INTRODUCTION TO BOTANY -  Plants and environment. Adaptations and life strategies.

2. WILD VASCULAR FLORA .  Flora concept. Biological forms. Geographical distribution of species: ranges and vicariances. Endemism. Adaptations of Mediterranean plants to the environment. Indicator species. The Sicilian flora.

3.  VEGETATION. Vegetation Concept. Structure and composition of the vegetation. The phytosociological method. Vegetation dynamics. The potential natural vegetation 

4. BIODIVERSITY LOSS.   Threatened species. IUCN criteria for assessing the risk of extinction. The red book of Italian plants. Actions to safeguard and conserve plant species.


6. THE ALIEN SPECIES: definitions, the problem of invasive species; containment and prevention activities

7.  HABITAT DIRECTIVE . The 43/92 EEC Habitat Directive. The Natura 2000 network. SCI/ZPS Management plans for the conservation of natural habitats. Goals and objectives of management plans for SCI of Sicily.

8. IN SITU CONSERVATION. Protected areas. National and Regional Parks. Natural areas. Reserves.

9. EX SITU CONSERVATION.  Germplasm in conservation activities. The germplasm banks. Botanical gardens.

10. RENATURATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION. Methods and criteria for renaturation and environmental restoration activities with native plants

11. WOODS PROTECTION: protection of the forest in national and regional legislation

12. THE MONUMENTAL TREES: definitions and selection criteria

13. URBAN FORESTS: Definitions and meaning for conservation

14. EXCURSION/S IN THE FIELD. Study and analysis of the material and data collected

Textbook Information

Ubaldi D., 2012. Guida allo studio della flora e della vegetazione. CLUEB Bologna

Bacchetta G. et al. 2006 - Manuale per la raccolta, studio, conservazione e gestione ex situ del germoplasma APAT.

Blasi C. et al. 2005 – Stato della biodiversità in Italia. Ministero dell’Ambiente Direzione per la protezione della Natura. Palombi Editori.

Ercole S. et al. 2010 - Analisi e progettazione botanica per gli interventi di mitigazione degli impatti delle infrastrutture lineari ISPRA

Janssen J.A.M. et al. 2016. European Red List of Habitats. Part 2. Terrestrial and freshwater habitats. European Union

Rossi G., et al. (Eds.), 2013. Lista Rossa della Flora Italiana. 1. Policy Species e altre specie minacciate. Comitato Italiano IUCN e Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare

Rinaldi B.M., Gabbianelli A., Salizzoni E. (a cura di) 2021. Nature in città. Biodiversità e progetto di paesaggio in Italia. Il Mulino 

Scientific articles, useful for deepening the topics covered during the lessons, will be provided by the teacher

Ppt provided by the teacher  In the ppt, in addition to the examples with images, synthetic texts and diagrams of the topics covered, links are also indicated for the necessary further information from Internet sites

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1INTRODUZIONE ALLA BOTANICA Le piante e l’ambiente. Adattamenti e strategie di vita.S. Pignatti, P. M. Bianco, G. Fanelli 2001; ppt forniti
2LA FLORA VASCOLARE SPONTANEA Significato di flora. Forme biologiche. La distribuzione geografica delle specie: areali e vicarianze. Endemismi. Gli adattamenti delle piante mediterranee all’ambiente. Specie indicatrici di condizioni ambientali ed influssi antropici. La flora sicula.S. Pignatti, P. M. Bianco, G. Fanelli 2001, ppt forniti
3LA VEGETAZIONE Significato di Vegetazione. Struttura e composizione della vegetazione mediterranea. Il metodo fitosociologico. Dinamismo della vegetazione. S. Pignatti, P. M. Bianco, G. Fanelli 2001, ppt forniti
4PERDITA DELLA BIODIVERSITA’ Le specie minacciate. I criteri IUCN per valutare lo status di rischio di estinzione. Il libro rosso delle piante d’Italia. Azioni di salvaguardia e conservazione delle specie vegetali.Rossi G., et al. (Eds.), 2013; ppt forniti
6LE SPECIE ALIENE: defiinizioni, il problema delle specie invasive; attività di contenimento e prevenzionemateriale fornito dal docente
7LA DIRETTIVA HABITAT. La Direttiva Habitat 43/92 CEE. Il concetto di habitat. I Siti della rete natura 2000. Piani di gestione SIC/ZPS per la conservazione degli habitat naturali. Obiettivi e finalità dei piani di gestione dei siti di interesse comunitario in Sicilia. La lista rossa degli habitatC. Blasi et al. 2005; Janssen et al. 2016 ppt forniti
8CONSERVAZIONE IN SITU. Aree protette. Parchi Nazionali e Regionali. Aree naturali. Riserve.G. Bacchetta et al. 2006; ppt forniti
9 CONSERVAZIONE EX SITU Il germoplasma nelle attività di conservazione. le banche del germoplasma. gli orti botanici G. Bacchetta et al. 2006; pdf forniti
10RINATURAZIONE E RESTAURO AMBIENTALE. Modalità e criteri per attività di rinaturazione e restauro ambientale con le piante autoctoneErcole et al. 2010; ppt forniti
11TUTELA DEL BOSCO: la tutela del bosco nella legislazione nazionale e regionale materiale fornito dal docente
12GLI ALBERI MONUMENTALI: definizioni e criteri di sceltamateriale fornito dal docente
13LE FORESTE URBANE: Definizioni e significato per la conservazionemateriale fornito dal docente
14LABORATORIO DI FLORISTICA Classificazione e analisi del materiale raccolto. Escursione in campo.

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

Verification of learning takes place through an oral interview.

It also requires the development of a power-point presentation on a specific case (IUCN assessment of a species, characteristics of a reserve or a Natura 2000 site, etc.), studied by the student using the necessary data collection tools, highlighted by the teacher during the course.

The evaluation of the student's preparation will take place on the basis of the following criteria: learning ability and level of depth of the topics covered, properties of synthesis and exposition, and the student's ability to reason.

The vote follows the following scheme:


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Important shortcomings. Significant inaccuracies

Analysis and synthesis skills: Irrelevant. Frequent generalizations. Inability to synthesize

Use of references: Completely inappropriate


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: At the threshold level. Obvious imperfections

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Just enough skills

Use of references: As appropriate


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Routine knowledge Analysis and synthesis skills: It is capable of correct analysis and synthesis. Argue logically and consistently

Use of references: Use standard references


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Good knowledge

Analysis and synthesis skills: Has good analysis and synthesis skills. The arguments are expressed consistently

Use of references: Use standard references


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Knowledge more than good

Ability to analyze and synthesize: He has considerable abilities of analysis and synthesis

Use of references: Has explored the topics


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Excellent knowledge

Ability to analyze and synthesize: He has considerable abilities of analysis and synthesis.

Use of references: Important insights.

Verification of learning can also be carried out remotely, if the conditions require it.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

Concepts of flora and vegetation in relation to the environment. International agreements for the conservation of biodiversity. Priority habitats according to the Habitats Directive. Threatened species and red lists. In situ and ex situ conservation. Alien species and related problems. Methods of environmental restoration with native species