Carbon storage of Mediterranean grasslands


  • Piermaria Corona Consiglio per la ricerca e la sperimentazione in agricoltura, Forestry Research Centre
  • Emilio Badalamenti Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo
  • Salvatore Pasta Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo
  • Tommaso La Mantia Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo



Ampelodesmos mauritanicus, carbon storage, Hyparrhenia hirta, Mediterranean grasslands, Pennisetum setaceum


Secondary grasslands are one of the most common vegetation types worldwide. In Europe, and in the Mediterranean basin, human activities have transformed many woodlands into secondary grasslands. Despite their recognized role in the global carbon cycle, very few data are available for estimating the biomass of Mediterranean grasslands. We developed linear regression models in order to predict the biomass of two native Mediterranean grasses (Ampelodesmos mauritanicus and Hyparrhenia hirta) and an invasive alien grass (Pennisetum setaceum). Ampelodesmos mauritanicus is very common throughout the Mediterranean basin, mostly on north-facing slopes, H. hirta characterizes thermo-xeric grasslands, while P. setaceum is an alien species that is rapidly spreading along coastal areas. The measured morphometric attributes of individual plants as potential predictors were considered. The validation results corroborate the ability of the established models to predict above ground and total biomass of A. mauritanicus and P. setaceum. We also evaluated the total biomass per hectare for each species. The highest biomass per hectare was found for A. mauritanicus, whereas biomass was higher for H. hirta than for P. setaceum. The replacement of H. hirta by P. setaceum may reduce the total carbon storage in the ecosystem; however, P. setaceum allocates more resources to the roots, thus increasing the more stable and durable pool of carbon in grasslands.


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How to Cite

Corona, P., Badalamenti, E., Pasta, S., & La Mantia, T. (2016). Carbon storage of Mediterranean grasslands. Anales Del Jardín Botánico De Madrid, 73(1), e029.