24(1):15–25. Paper abstract bibtex
Several studies carried out in north-west Mediterranean areas showed the role of Quercus deciduous species as pioneer woody species in secondary succession processes in abandoned areas. The aim of this paper is to verify this phenomenon in a Quercus suber open woodland in Monti Iblei (South-East Sicily, Italy) where grazing is still present. A diachronie approach was used to study the patterns and growth rate of young individuals (seedlings and saplings) of a deciduous oak (Q. pubescens) and a sclero- phyllous oak (Q. suber) in presence or absence of grazing. Q. pubescens is frequent in ail the stands, but no one individual reaches the canopy layer. In absence of grazing Q. pubescens growth rate is higher than the Q. suber one, thus showing a strong competitive capacity. These results confirm the main role of Q. pubescens in dynamical processes of this region.