|M. Pividori, F. Armando, M. Conedera
|Castanea sativa, Fagus sylvatica, Abies alba, competition, stand evolution
Until the beginning of the last century, chestnut played an important role as a staple food and primary wood source.
However, with the abandonment of rural activities, the management of chestnut forests was progressively left behind.
Following the suspension of the traditional coppice management system (rotation periods of 10-25 years), natural intra- and inter-specific competition dynamics have become the driving force in stand evolution.
This may lead to dramatic changes in both structure and species composition of the stands.
The aim of this study is to analyse the post-cultural evolution of an abandoned chestnut coppice in the Pesio Valley (Piedmont, Italy) in order to highlight the competitive fitness of the different “basic silvicultural components” of the forest using a dendroecological approach.
The “basic silvicultural components” are elements defined as groups of trees of the stand that have similar silviculturally relevant attributes: species (chestnut, beech, fir), origin (seed, sprout), cultural age and function (standard/reserve, maiden, shoot, regeneration, dead tree). The mean growth curves of the components have shown the different fitness of each defined category.
Beech and fir components show a better competitive potential in comparison with chestnut.
Among the chestnut components, maidens originating from seeds reveal a better growth trend compared to coppice shoots and standards.
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