The rapidly increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases may cause a significant change in climate patterns. As it happen in the past, such changes can strongly influence the diversity and distribution of species and affect ecosystems and biodiversity. Biological changes due to global warming are already noticeable and global warming has been shown as one of the serious threats to biodiversity.
An evaluation of the current and future potential distribution of the main tree forest species of Central Italy (Lazio and Abruzzo regions) is presented. This analysis will support the elaboration of conservation strategies at regional scale: protection of strategic ecosystem refugia, ecological networks and corridors. The following species characterising the forested landscape of the study area were analysed: Acer campestre, Acer obtusatum, Acer pseudoplatanus, Carpinus betulus, Carpinus orientalis, Castanea sativa, Fagus sylvatica, Fraxinus ornus, Quercus cerris, Quercus frainetto, Quercus ilex, Quercus pubescens, Quercus robur, Quercus suber, Ostrya carpinifolia, Ulmus minor.
Finally an analysis of the potential trends involving the four level II CONECOFOR sites, located within the study area, was carried out. Two sites are located in the Lazio region: Monte Rufeno (09 – LAZ1, Acquapendente –VT) and Monte Circeo (22 – LAZ2, S.Felice Circeo –LT), characterised respectively by Quercus cerris and Quercus ilex, while the other two are located in the Abruzzo region: Selva Piana (01 – ABR1, Collelongo, AQ) and Rosello (21 – ABR2, CH), are dominated respectively by Fagus sylvatica and Quercus cerris.