Effect of the silvicultural treatment on canopy properties, litter and seed production in beech coppices under conversion to high forest

Andrea Cutini, Francesco Chianucci, Tessa Giannini
2010 Annals of Silvicultural Research  
European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) is widely distributed in Italy where it covers 1035103 ha, mainly concentrated in the mountainous areas at altitudes above 900 m. The major part is represented by high forest often issued from the conversion of coppice woods, which in the past was the silvicultural system most widely applied mainly to provide fire wood. The social changes occurred in the second half of the last century –fire wood market crisis and the increasing importance of environmental
more » ... ues- enhanced the conversion into high forest of large areas previously managed as coppice by means of different silvicultural treatments and practices. Nevertheless, the environmental benefits of this choice were not adequately investigated. Results of annual measurements (1992-2009) made in a beech coppice stand aged 65 are here reported. The study area is located on the Alpe di Catenaia, a pre-Apennine outcrop close to Arezzo (Central Italy). Variables strictly related to stand productivity and dynamics such as annual litter and seed production, leaf area index (LAI) and transmittance (PAR) were measured in the research area of Buca Zamponi to estimate the effects of two theses, natural evolution (TEST) and conversion into high forest (DIR). Three thinnings were undertaken in the latter thesis in 1972, 1987 and 2002. Additional theses of natural evolution (CONTR) and advance seed cutting (TS) were added in 2002 in a nearby study area (Eremo della Casella). Results showed the high productivity of coppice stands, under conversion to high forest, with mean values of annual total litter, leaf litter and leaf area index of 5 Mg ha-1, 3 Mg ha-1 and 6 m2m-2, respectively. These findings confirm both the prompt response of beech to intensive thinning cycles and the reliability of undertaking coppice conversion into high forest. Furthermore, the positive trend observed in the ecological parameters and the high consistency of leaf fraction, highlight the still juvenile phase in progress in these stands. These results will be inve [...]
doi:10.12899/asr-825 doaj:d2a4d2c251c747cb91a3edb916d8f0c6 fatcat:2z7jtewv3fh3zoy2oh7w67wpya