Quality wood production from chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) coppice forests - Comparison between different silvicultural approaches

Manetti Maria Chiara 1, Amorini Emilio 1, Becagli Claudia 1,2, Pelleri Francesco 1, Pividori Mario 3, Schleppi Patrick 4, Zingg Andreas 4, Conedera Marco 5

1 Centro di ricerca per la Selvicoltura (CRA), Viale S. Margherita 80, IT-52100 Arezzo, Italia
2 Dipartimento DISAFRI, Università di Tuscia, Via S. Camillo De Lellis, IT-01100 Viterbo, Italia
3 Dipartimento TESAF, Università di Padova, Agripolis, IT-35020 Legnaro, Padova, Italia
4 Istituto federale di ricerca per la foresta, la neve e il paesaggio (WSL), CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Svizzera
5 Istituto federale di ricerca per la foresta, la neve e il paesaggio (WSL), CH-6500 Bellinzona, Svizzera

Acta Hort. 866 (2010): 683-692

DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2010.866.91


Producing quality chestnut timber from chestnut coppices by defining silvicultural approaches sustainable from the economic, ecological and socio-environmental point of view is a promising option for the future. Enhancing local silvicultural activities may turn in an improved quality timber production, in ecological benefits, in reducing of environmental loads related to timber import, and favouring direct and indirect (e.g. tourism) forestry industry in marginal areas. In our study we monitored the response of chestnut coppice stand to different silvicultural treatments: i) no treatment (control); ii) stand silviculture consisting in early and frequent low-thinning of moderate intensity; iii) single tree oriented silviculture consisting in early selection final target trees among the best phenotypes (up to 150 individuals per ha) and isolating their crown through free thinning in order to avoid any competition with neighbouring trees. Three experimental plots (1 in Canton Ticino, Switzerland and 2 in Toscana, Italy) were selected in homogeneous and fairly productive sites. First silvicultural interventions have been planned between January 2006 and February 2009 according to the development stage of the stand in each area. First results highlight the existence of both positive and negative aspects in all the considered options. A common trait among the thinned stands is the rapid recovery of the canopy within few years. Concerning the single tree silviculture, it allows producing a significant higher increase in diameter of the target trees. But, it is disadvantageous in terms of extracting the harvested wood from the stand and it is highly susceptible to game damages. In the future we will carry on the research trials monitoring the considered silvicultural options also in terms of the overall economic balance.