Forestry Studies in China

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 63–69 | Cite as

Exploring the silvicultural and economic viability of gap cutting in Mediterranean softwood plantations

  • Roberto Mercurio
  • Raffaele SpinelliEmail author


Gap cutting consists of the removal of all trees growing on a small surface, varying in size from 200 to 600 m2. In Italy, gap cutting has been successfully tested for introducing the natural regeneration of native species into softwood plantations, thus accelerating the transition towards climax hardwood stands. Depending on plantation types and conditions, gap cutting should be started at an age between 70 and 80 years and the system should include at least 12 to 15 gaps, in order to produce enough wood to cover costs. Generally, natural regeneration is firmly established within 5–7 years from treatment. Gap cutting also offers superior results to selection thinning, the latter producing about 35% less value and incurring 25% to 30% more costs. As for all regeneration cuts, the success of gap cutting depends on wildlife control in order to prevent extensive damage to the regeneration.

Key words

g ap cutting regeneration plantations economics technology 


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© Beijing Forestry University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Forest Systems ManagementMediterranean UniversityReggio CalabriaItaly
  2. 2.CNR IVALSASesto Fiorentino (FI)Italy

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