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NCJ Number: NCJ 241227     Find in a Library
Title: Vegetation Dynamics as a Tool for Detecting Clandestine Graves
  Document URL: HTML 
Author(s): Marco Caccianiga, Ph.D. ; Stefania Bottacin, M.Sc. ; Cristina Cattaneo, Ph.D.
  Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:57  Issue:4  Dated:July 2012  Pages:983 to 988
Date Published: 07/2012
Page Count: 6
  Annotation: This study evaluated the effects on vegetation following the burial of carcasses.
Abstract: The burial of a body can affect plant communities through mechanical disturbance and nutrient balance alteration. The authors performed an experimental trial using five swine carcasses buried in an open site in Italy. Vegetation dynamics was monitored recording monthly every plant individual on a regular sampling grid during 1 year on the graves, on an empty control grave, and on an undisturbed plot. Plant species composition and cover were significantly different between the disturbed and the undisturbed plots. Disturbed plots showed the increase in ruderal species and the reduction in stress-tolerant ones. Graves and the control grave could not be distinguished from each other. Disturbance was the main factor affecting plant cover, while the presence of a buried body did not affect vegetation dynamics. However, disturbance could be easily detected; the functional approach seems promising for the identification of dynamic patterns to be used in different biogeographic and ecological contexts. Abstract published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons.
Main Term(s): Forensics/Forensic Sciences
Index Term(s): Theory ; Plant analysis ; Corpses ; Homicide victims ; Italy
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Country: United States of America
Language: English
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