Advertisement

European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 134, Issue 1, pp 19–31 | Cite as

Development of old-growth characteristics in uneven-aged forests of the Italian Alps

  • Renzo MottaEmail author
  • Matteo Garbarino
  • Roberta Berretti
  • Fabio Meloni
  • Antonio Nosenzo
  • Giorgio Vacchiano
Original Paper

Abstract

During the last millennia, all forests of the Italian Alps have been heavily affected by human land-use. Consequently, forest structures have been modified, and there are no old growth remains. In the last decades, however, many forests have been withdrawn from regular management, because wood production was unprofitable, and left to develop naturally. At the same time, in currently managed forests, silvicultural systems able to develop or maintain old-growth characteristics are being required. The aim of this paper was to assess the status and developmental dynamics of old-growth characteristics in mixed beech, silver fir, and Norway spruce montane forests of the eastern Italian Alps. We selected along a naturalness gradient (a) three old-growth forests in Bosnia and Montenegro (due to the lack of old-growth forests in the Italian Alps), (b) two forests withdrawn from regular management for at least 50 years, and (c) three currently managed forests. In each forest, we analysed 17 structural attributes, in order to assess their value as indicators of old-growth condition. Old-growth forests were characterized by significantly higher amounts of live and dead biomass, share of beech in the dominant and regeneration layers, and number of large trees. The diameter distribution was best described as a rotated sigmoid, differently from currently and formerly managed forest. We discuss the differences in old-growth characteristics across the management gradient and use our results to evaluate the effectiveness of retention prescriptions currently applied in the studied regions in maintaining or promoting old-growth structural attributes in managed forests.

Keywords

Forest structure Coarse woody debris Selection system Rotated sigmoid PCA Retention forestry 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Alessandro Wolynski (Autonomous Province of Trento), Franca de Ferrari (Piemonte Region), Damiano Penco and Luca Iacopi (Liguria Region), Maurizio Dissegna, Giovanni Carraro and Ivan Davide Orlando (Veneto Region), Enrico Calvo (ERSAF, Lombardy Region) for useful information and comments regarding retention forestry, Giuseppe Menegus (Regione Veneto), Fabio Angeli, Paolo Zorer and Maurizio Mezzanotte (Autonomous Province of Trento) for useful information and for the field support in the three managed forests, Ivan Bjelanovic, Milic Čurović, Srdjan Keren, and Vojislav Dukić for the field support in the old-growth forests. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their careful reading of our manuscript and their many insightful comments and suggestions. This work was partially supported by the Autonomous Province of Trento and by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region (Research on forests withdrawn from regular managements). Spot Image Inc., through Planet Action Program domain Forest and deforestation, provided funding for the research in the Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro old-growth forests by donating satellite imagery and image processing systems.

Conflict of interest

None declared.

References

  1. Alessandrini A, Biondi F, Di Filippo A, Ziaco E, Piovesan G (2011) Tree size distribution at increasing spatial scales converges to the rotated sigmoid curve in two old-growth beech stands of the Italian Apennines. For Ecol Manage 262:1950–1962CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ammer U (1991) Konsequenzen aus den Ergebnissen der Totholzforschung für die forstliche Praxis. Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt 110:149–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Angelstam PK, Bütler R, Lazdinis M, Mikusinski G, Roberge JM (2003) Habitat thresholds for focal species at multiple scales and forest biodiversity conservation—dead wood as an example. Ann Zool Fenn 40:473–482Google Scholar
  4. Attiwill PM (1994) The disturbance of forest ecosystems: the ecological basis for conservative management. For Ecol Manage 63:247–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barbati A et al (2012) Assessing and promoting old-growthness of forest stands: lessons from research in Italy. Plant Biosyst—Int J Deal Asp Plant Biol 146:167–174. doi: 10.1080/11263504.2011.650730 Google Scholar
  6. Bauhus J, Puettmann K, Messier C (2009) Silviculture for old-growth attributes. For Ecol Manage 258:525–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beese WJ, Dunsworth BG, Zielke K, Bancroft B (2003) Maintaining attributes of old-growth forests in coastal B.C. through variable retention. For Chron 79:570–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bengtsson J, Nilsson SG, Franc A, Menozzi P (2000) Biodiversity, disturbances, ecosystem function and management of European forests. For Ecol Manage 132:39–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bergeron Y, Drapeau P, Gauthier S, Lecomte N (2007) Using knowledge of natural disturbances to support sustainable forest management in the northern Clay Belt. For Chron 83:326–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bohn U, Neuhäusl R, Von Gollub G, Hettwer C, Neuhäuslová Z, SchlüTer H, Weber H (2000/2003) Karte der natürlichen Vegetation Europas / Map of the Natural Vegetation of Europe, Maßstab/Scale 1:2.500.000, Teil 1/Part 1: Erläuterungstext/Explanatory Text, 655 S./pp., Teil 2/Part 2: Legende/Legend, 153 S./pp., Teil 3/Part 3: Karten/Maps, Landwirtschaftsverlag. MünsterGoogle Scholar
  11. Boncina A (2000) Comparison of structure and biodiversity in the Rajhenav virgin forest remnant and managed forest in the Dinaric region of Slovenia. Glob Ecol Biodivers 9:201–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bottero A, Garbarino M, Dukić V, Govedar Z, Lingua E, Nagel TA, Motta R (2011) Gap-phase dynamics in the old growth forest of Lom (Bosnia-Herzegovina). Silva Fennica 45:865–873CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Burrascano S, Keeton WS, Sabatini FM, Blasi C (2013) Commonality and variability in the structural attributes of moist temperate old-growth forests: a global review. For Ecol Manage 291:458–479. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.11.020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bütler R (2003) Dead wood in managed forests: how much and how much is enough? Development of a snag quantification method by remote sensing and GIS and snag targets based on the three-toed woodpecker’s habitat requirements. Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)Google Scholar
  15. Castagneri D, Garbarino M, Berretti R, Motta R (2010) Site and stand effects on coarse woody debris in montane mixed forests of Eastern Italian Alps. For Ecol Manage 260:1592–1598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chirici G, Puletti N, Salvati R, Arbi F, Zolli C, Corona P (2014) Is randomized branch sampling suitable to assess wood volume of temperate broadleaved old-growth forests? For Ecol Manage 312:225–230. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.10.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Christensen M et al (2005) Dead wood in European beech (Fagus sylvatica) forest reserves. For Ecol Manage 210:267–282. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2005.02.032 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. de Liocourt F (1898) De l’aménagement des sapinières. Bull Soc For Franche-Comté et Belfort 4:396–409Google Scholar
  19. Diaci J et al (2011) Structural dynamics and synchronous silver fir decline in mixed old-growth mountain forests in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Forestry 84:479–491. doi: 10.1093/forestry/cpr030 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fahrig L (2003) Effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 34:487–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Franklin JF, Spies TA (1991) Ecological definitions of old-growth Douglas-fir forests. In: Ruggiero LF, Aubry KB, Carey AB, Huff MH (eds) Wildlife and vegetation of unmanaged Douglas-fir forests. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, pp 61–69Google Scholar
  22. Franklin JF, Van Pelt R (2004) Spatial aspects of structural complexity in old-growth forests. J For 102:22–28Google Scholar
  23. Goff FG, West D (1975) Canopy-understory interaction effects on forest population structure. For Sci 21:98–108Google Scholar
  24. Goodburn JM, Lorimer CG (1999) Population structure in old-growth and managed northern hardwoods: an examination of the balanced diameter distribution concept. For Ecol Manage 118:11–29. doi: 10.1016/S0378-1127(98)00478-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gustafsson L, Kouki J, Sverdrup-Thygeson A (2010) Tree retention as a conservation measure in clear-cut forests of northern Europe: a review of ecological consequences. Scand J For Res 25:295–308. doi: 10.1080/02827581.2010.497495 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gustafsson L et al (2012) Retention forestry to maintain multifunctional forests: a world perspective. Bioscience 62:633–645. doi: 10.1525/bio.2012.62.7.6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Halpern CB, Spies TA (1995) Plant species diversity in natural and managed forests of the Pacific Northwest. Ecol Appl 5:913–934CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Heilmann-Clausen J, Christensen M (2003) Fungal diversity on decaying beech logs-implications for sustainable forestry. Biodivers Conserv 12:953–973CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Humphrey JW (2005) Benefits to biodiversity from developing old-growth conditions in British upland spruce plantations: a review and recommendations. Forestry 78:33–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Inventario Nazionale delle Foreste e dei Serbatoi Forestali di Carbonio (2005) Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali, Ispettorato Generale - Corpo Forestale dello Stato. CRA - Unità di ricerca per il Monitoraggio e la Pianificazione forestaleGoogle Scholar
  31. Janowiak MK, Nagel LM, Webster CR (2008) Spatial scale and stand structure in northern hardwood forests: implications for quantifying diameter distributions. For Sci 54:497–506Google Scholar
  32. Keeton WS (2006) Managing for late-successional/old-growth characteristics in northern hardwood-conifer forests. For Ecol Manage 235:129–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Keeton WS, Franklin JF (2005) Do remnant old-growth trees accelerate rates of succession in mature Douglas-fir forests? Ecol Monogr 75:103–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Keren S, Motta R, Govedar Z, Lucic R, Medarevic M, Diaci J (2014) Comparative structural dynamics of the janj mixed old-growth mountain forest in Bosnia and Herzegovina: are conifers in a long-term decline? Forests 5:1243–1266. doi: 10.3390/f5061243 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kirby KJ, Drake CM (1993) Dead wood matters: the ecology and conservation of saproxylic invertebrates in Britain. Engl Nat Sci 7:1–105Google Scholar
  36. Kohler F (2010) Die klimabedingte Veränderung der Totholzkäferfauna (Coleoptera) des nördlichen Rheinlandes. Analysen zur Gesamtfauna und am Beispiel von Wiederholungsuntersuchungen in ausgewählten Naturwaldzellen. Report for Ministerium für Umwelt und Naturschutz Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, BornheimGoogle Scholar
  37. Korpel S (1995) Die Urwälder der Westkarpaten. Fischer, JenaGoogle Scholar
  38. Kucbel S, Jaloviar P, Saniga M, Vencurik J, Klimaš V (2010) Canopy gaps in an old-growth fir-beech forest remnant of Western Carpathians. Eur J For Res 129:249–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kuuluvainen T, Penttinen A, Leinonen L, Nygren M (1996) Statistical opportunities for comparing stand structural heterogeneity in managed and primeval forests: an example from boreal Spruce forest in Southern Finland. Silva Fennica 30:315–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lähde E, Laiho O, Norokorpi Y, Saksa T (1999) Stand structure as the basis of diversity index. For Ecol Manage 115:213–220. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1127(98)00400-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Larrieu L, Cabanettes A, Delarue A (2012) Impact of silviculture on dead wood and on the distribution and frequency of tree microhabitats in montane beech-fir forests of the Pyrenees. Eur J For Res 131:773–786. doi: 10.1007/s10342-011-0551-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Leak WB (1996) Long-term structural change in uneven-aged northern hardwoods. For Sci 42:160–165Google Scholar
  43. Leibundgut H (1982) Europäische Urwälder der Bergstufe. Paul Haupt, BernGoogle Scholar
  44. Lindenmayer DB, Franklin JF (2002) Conserving forest biodiversity: a comprehensive multiscaled approach. Island Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  45. Lindenmayer DB, Franklin JF, Fischer J (2006) General management principles and a checklist of strategies to guide forest biodiversity conservation. Biol Conserv 131:433–445. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2006.02.019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lingua E, Garbarino M, Borgogno Mondino E, Motta R (2011) Natural disturbance dynamics in an old-growth forest: from tree to landscape. Procedia Environ Sci 7:365–370. doi: 10.1016/j.proenv.2011.07.063 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Meyer P, Schmidt M (2011) Accumulation of dead wood in abandoned beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forests in northwestern Germany. For Ecol Manage 261:342–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Moeur M (1997) Spatial models of competition and gap dynamics in old-growth Tsuga heterophylla/Thuja plicata forests. For Ecol Manage 94:175–186Google Scholar
  49. Motta R (2002) Old-growth forests and silviculture in the Italian Alps: the case-study of the strict reserve of Paneveggio (TN). Plant Biosyst 136:223–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Motta R et al (in press) Analysis of the spatio-temporal dynamics of mixed beech-silver fir-Norway spruce old-growth forests of Biogradska Gora (Montenegro) and Perućica (Bosnia-Herzegovina). Plant Biosyst. doi: 10.1080/11263504.2014.945978
  51. Motta R, Berretti R, Lingua E, Piussi P (2006) Coarse woody debris, forest structure and regeneration in the Valbona Forest Reserve, Paneveggio, Italian Alps. For Ecol Manage 235:155–163. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2006.08.007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Motta R, Berretti R, Castagneri D, Lingua E, Nola P, Vacchiano G (2010) Stand and coarse woody debris dynamics in subalpine Norway spruce forests withdrawn from regular management. Ann For Sci 67:801–808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Motta R et al (2011) Toward a definition of the range of variability of central European mixed Fagus–Abies–Picea forests: the nearly steady-state forest of Lom (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Can J For Res 41:1871–1884. doi: 10.1139/x11-098 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Müller J, Bütler R (2010) A review of habitat thresholds for dead wood: a baseline for management recommendations in European forests. Eur J For Res 129:981–992. doi: 10.1007/s10342-010-0400-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Nagel TA, Svoboda M (2008) Gap disturbance regime in an old-growth Fagus-Abies forest in the Dinaric Mountains, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Can J For Res 38:2728–2737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Nagel TA, Diaci J, Rozenbergar D, Rugani T, Firm D (2012) Old-growth forest reserves in Slovenia: the past, present, and future. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Forstwesen 163:240–246. doi: 10.3188/szf.2012.0240 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Nilsson SG et al (2002) Densities of large living and dead trees in old-growth temperate and boreal forest. For Ecol Manage 161:189–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. O’Hara KL, Gersonde RF (2004) Stocking control concepts in uneven-aged silviculture. Forestry 77:131–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ódor P et al (2006) Diversity of dead wood inhabiting fungi and bryophytes in semi-natural beech forests in Europe. Biol Conserv 131:58–71. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2006.02.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Paillet Y et al (2010) Biodiversity differences between managed and unmanaged forests: meta-analysis of species richness in Europe. Conserv Biol 24:101–112. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01399.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Parviainen J (2005) Virgin and natural forests in the temperate zone of Europe. For Snow Landsc Res 79:9–18Google Scholar
  62. Peres-Neto PR, Jackson DA, Somers KM (2005) How many principal components? stopping rules for determining the number of non-trivial axes revisited. Computat Stat Data Anal 49:974–997. doi: 10.1016/j.csda.2004.06.015
  63. Peterken GF (1996) Natural woodland. Ecology and conservation in northern temperate regions. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  64. Poldini L, Bressan E (2007) I boschi ad abete rosso ed abete bianco in Friuli (Italia nord-orientale). Fitosociologia 44:15–54Google Scholar
  65. R Core Team (2013) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  66. Schütz JP (1996) Sylviculture 2. La gestion des forêts irrégulières et mélangéés. Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes, LausanneGoogle Scholar
  67. Siitonen J (2001) Forest management, coarse woody debris and saproxylic organisms: Fennoscandian boreal forests as an example. Ecol Bull 49:11–41Google Scholar
  68. Siitonen J, Martikainen P, Punttila P, Rauh J (2000) Coarse woody debris and stand characteristics in mature managed and old-growth boreal mesic forests in southern Finland. For Ecol Manage 128:211–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Silver EJ, D’Amato AW, Fraver S, Palik BJ, Bradford JB (2013) Structure and development of old-growth, unmanaged second-growth, and extended rotation Pinus resinosa forests in Minnesota, USA. For Ecol Manage 291:110–118. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.11.033 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sitzia T, Trentanovi G, Dainese M, Gobbo G, Lingua E, Sommacal M (2012) Stand structure and plant species diversity in managed and abandoned silver fir mature woodlands. For Ecol Manage 270:232–238. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.01.032 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Spielmann M, Bücking W, Quadt V, Krumm F (2013) Integration of nature protection in forest policy in Baden-Württenberg (Germany). INTEGRATE country report. EFICENT-OEF. FreiburgGoogle Scholar
  72. Stanturf JA, Madsen P (2002) Restoration concepts for temperate and boreal forests of North America and Western Europe. Plant Biosyst 136:143–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Susmel L (1980) Normalizzazione delle foreste alpine. Liviana Editrice, PadovaGoogle Scholar
  74. Vandekerkhove K (2013) Integration of nature protection in Belgian forest policy: the case of Flanders. INTEGRATE country report for Belgium. EFICENT-OEF. FreiburgGoogle Scholar
  75. Vandekerkhove K, De Keersmaeker L, Menke N, Meyer P, Verschelde P (2009) When nature takes over from man: dead wood accumulation in previously managed oak and beech woodlands in north-western and Central Europe. For Ecol Manage 258:425–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Vandekerkhove K et al (2011) Reappearance of old-growth elements in lowland woodlands in northern Belgium: do the associated species follow? Silva Fennica 45:909–935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Volin VC, Buongiorno J (1996) Effects of alternative management regimes on forest stand structure, species composition, and income: a model for the Italian Dolomites. For Ecol Manage 87:107–125. doi: 10.1016/S0378-1127(96)03828-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wirth C, Gleixner G, Heimann M (eds) (2009) Old-growth forests. Function, fate and value, vol 207. Ecological studies. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  79. Wolynski A (1998) Evoluzione storica della selvicoltura naturalistica. Sherwood 40:5–11Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renzo Motta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matteo Garbarino
    • 2
  • Roberta Berretti
    • 1
  • Fabio Meloni
    • 1
  • Antonio Nosenzo
    • 1
  • Giorgio Vacchiano
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, forestali e alimentari (DISAFA)Università di TorinoGrugliascoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento D3AUniversità Politecnica delle MarcheAnconaItaly

Personalised recommendations