Isola di Pianosa - Italy

Basic Information
Site Name
Isola di Pianosa
Short name
Parent Site Name
Site Manager
Site Description
Pianosa Island (Long. 10° 04' 44” E and Lat. 42° 35' 07” N) is the fifth, by extension, of the seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park with a total area of 10.2 km2 and a coastal perimeter of approximately 20 km. The island is almost completely flat, with some small undulations. The highest elevation is 29 m above sea level (a.s.l.), while the average is about 18 m a.s.l. The climate of Pianosa is influenced by its flat morphology that prevents the condensation of moist air, resulting in a mean annual rainfall considerably lower than on the other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago; furthermore, due to the high permeability of the soils, the rain is quickly drained. On the basis of an historical meteorological dataset (1951-2009), mean air temperature is 15.8 °C and mean annual rainfall is 497 mm, ranging between a minimum of 176 mm (1999) and a maximum of 716.2 mm (1984). A clear seasonal precipitation pattern shows a maximum from October to December followed by a decrease with a minimum value in July. The first historical record of Pianosa island dates back to the Roman age, when the Emperor Ottaviano, in the 6-7 A.C., forced the grandson Agrippa Postumo to live on Pianosa island. Following the decadence of the Roman Empire, during the periods of Barbarians’ invasions, the island was abandoned. The name of Pianosa island newly appeared in some documents of the Repubbliche Marinare of Pisa and Genova (XII and XIII century) that reported the remarkable strategic position of the island. The 27th August 1802, Napoleone Bonaparte established that the islands of Elba, Capraia, Pianosa, Palmaiola and Montecristo were united to the territory of the French Republic. Bonaparte visited Pianosa twice and found it the most interesting of the other islands, appreciating its richness of vegetation and animals. In 1858 Pianosa became an Agriculture Penal Colony, where the prisoners were forced to work in the fields. During the ’70s the jail of Pianosa became a maximum security penitentiary. Only in the ’80s, representatives of the Government and members of the civil society started to propose to close the prison and to return Pianosa to the competent civil authority. In view of this, the number of the prisoners was drastically reduced and, consequently, several agriculture activities progressively stopped. In the 1997 the territory of Pianosa was formally included in the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and since than it is a site for natural conservation. In 1998 the penitentiary was completely dismissed
Last modified
2020-03-02 04:03:39
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
Site Status
Year Established
The Pianosa_LAB is a research network established in the 2000, when 5 Institutes of the National Research Council (CNR) and 4 University Departments created an innovative infrastructure aimed at the long-term monitoring of the actual exchange of carbon, water and energy among the biosphere and atmosphere of the island. Key objective of the Pianosa_Lab project isthe determination of the C balance of the Pianosa island, thus, it significantly contributes to the understanding of the role of Mediterranean ecosystems as sinks or sources of atmospheric CO2. Additionally, the project aims at monitoring on the long term the vegetation dynamics on the island also in view of the future conservation management plans proposed for the island. The above objectives are pursued through the quantification of C stores in soils and vegetation and through the quantification of biosphere-atmosphere carbon, water and energy fluxes, from the scale of singular leaf, up to the three identified ecosystems and to the entire island. The obtained data set is used to validate models, which simulate environmental and climatic effects on biosphere and atmosphere gas exchange processes. The project is realised through a series of intensive fieldwork campaigns on the island of Pianosa, to which the researchers participate in collaborative activities. During the past two years of study, several field-work campaigns took place, generally in October and May of each year. In addition to these intensive campaigns, meteorological data were collected by the above mentioned meteorological station (Fig. 2 and 3), moreover from March 2002, CO2 and energy flux measurements are running continuously using an eddy covariance flux tower installed on the Island. Given the integrated nature of this project and to improve activities’ coordination and effectiveness, the Piansa-Lab is structured in working packages (WP) each of one with its specific tasks, and they are WP1- Soil Carbon sequestration and heterotrophic processes Biosphere, through many interactive mechanisms with atmosphere and biosphere, plays an important role in the global C cycle. Soil represents the major store of terrestrial ecosystems (1500 Pg C), in fact, in a global scale perspective, the amount of soil C is about three times that of terrestrial biomass (560 Pg C) and about two times that of the atmosphere (720 Pg C). Soil organic matter (SOM) affects all soil functions and it is a main factor in the C cycle. This WP aims at producing a geo-referenced map of the organic soil C of the island and to evaluate the soil condition in relation to land use and past management practices. Products of this WP are, a part from a map of soils C distribution the quantification of soil organic carbon of the island, the evaluation of soil organic C sequestration through studies of SOM dynamics and the determination of turnover times of leaf litter and measurement of soil CO2 efflux. WP2 -Vegetation analyses and ecophysiology The main activities of this WP were to evaluate the structure and productivity of the main ecosystems found on the island. For this scope species composition, leaf area index and extension of the main ecosystems were evaluated. Moreover, dominant species of the island were identified and their ecophysiology was characterized in terms of photosynthetic activity , above ground biomass and volatile organic carbon (VOC) emissions . Similarly to WP1, a GIS map of the actual main ecosystems found on the island was obtained. The activities of this WP could permit an up-scaling from leaf gas-exchange model to canopy and ecosystems gas-exchange models. WP3 – Biosphere-atmosphere gas exchanges Within this WP, measurements of CO2 and H2O fluxes by eddy correlation and by an atmospheric profiling system, based on the Vertical Mass Profiler, are carried out. Beside, measurements of volatile organic carbon (VOC) emissions from the dominant plant species are performed at leaf and branch scale by mean of leaf cuvette and bag enclosures. VOC vertical profile are also assessed at the ecosystem scale to quantify the contribution of VOC to ecosystem carbon fluxes WP4 - Isotopic discrimination The biochemical and physical basis of isotopic discrimination by photosynthesis has been well established. Leaf δ13C reflects the δ13C of tropospheric and canopy CO2, and it is dependent on the turbulence regime and ecosystem physiology. On the contrary, no discrimination is associated to respiration processes, thus soil CO2 efflux carry the isotopic signature of C of SOM and roots. Whilst for root δ13C the same applies as described for leaf δ13C, the δ13C of SOM reflects the δ13C of the vegetation under which it was formed, and tends to increase with time and soil depth. Ecosystem C isotope discrimination integrates all autotrophic and heterotrophic C fluxes, and applying the mass balance of stable isotopes, can be calculated knowing the δ13C of the CO2 respired by the ecosystem, and the corresponding tropospheric δ13C. Carbon isotope discrimination is reliable in investigation of water use efficiency of C3 plants. The isotopic approach is particularly suitable for environmental studies since it is not invasive and gives information on different time scale of plant physiology Additionally, the isotope approach allows partitioning of different component of C fluxes. Task of this WP is the determination of CO2 isotopic composition in air, in relation with the activities of WP2 and WP3. Analyses of δ13C in foliar, litter and soil samples are performed to trace soil C fluxes, and water use efficiencies of the different plant species insisting on the island. WP5 - Modeling activities The C balance, determined over a variety of vegetated surfaces, represents one of the most interesting studies in the frame of the development of environmental modeling and especially as far as concern the planetary boundary layer (PBL). On the base of such considerations, a major objective of this WP is the description of this atmospheric layer and its evolution by means of simple atmospheric models. Thus, a micrometeorological 'operative' diagnostic model is developed, suitable to parameterize the daily evolution of the planetary boundary layer and to furnish the average aerodynamic and turbulent parameters under the varying atmospheric stability conditions. Along with the micrometeorological model, a surface resistance model is developed to study the surface heat and mass exchange. For this purpose, measurements of average potential temperature, friction velocity, sensible heat flux and potential temperature gradient, furnished by WP3 are used. In order to realize and to check the model a Similarity Theory approach is used by means of measurements performed byWP3.
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Affiliation and Network Specific Information
ILTERThis site is a verified "ILTER" member.
LTER EuropeThis site is a verified "LTER Europe" member.
LTER Italia (Italy) (LTER_EU_IT_039)This site is a verified "LTER Italia (Italy)" member.

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