Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

An assessment methodology to combine the preservation of biodiversity and cultural heritage: the San Vincenzo al Volturno historical site (Molise, Italy).

Abstract

The interaction between natural, archaeological and agricultural elements is evident in many historical sites, such as the Medieval Benedictine Monastery of San Vincenzo al Volturno, located in an area of great agricultural and environmental value. Biodiversity issues are rarely considered in archaeological conservation and vice versa. This paper describes an assessment methodology for the evaluation of the natural and historical value of a site, necessary for a proper evaluation and as a preparatory step to aid decision-making and planning. In the analysed area, our findings showed an interesting floristic and vegetational heterogeneity, which were extremely valuable from a conservation point of view. Few alien species were found. Comparison with protected or endangered species and habitat lists led to the identification of a series of areas in need of more active protection, including arid grasslands presenting high biodiversity and attributable to the 6210* European Habitat. A cultural landscape evaluation was based on archaeobotanical and historical data, and it shows an interesting mosaic system. An assessment of the interaction between natural vegetation and monuments showed minimal impact from wall vegetation but a high potential risk due to wood colonisation in an area with unexcavated buildings. The usefulness of such an approach in the management of an archaeological site is that it offers an opportunity for optimisation: a proper evaluation can reduce the risk of damage and the presence of the archaeological park allows for protection and highlights natural valuable elements.