Management of mature high forests of Turkey Oak and Beech trees

LIFE: Man.For. C.BD.

Man.For. C.BD. - Managing Forests For Multiple Purposes: carbon, biodiversity, socio-economic wellbeing

LIFE09 ENV/IT/000078

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Management of mature Apennine high forests, predominantly of turkey oak and/or teach trees, originated from past management mistakes or deficiencies.

Matteucci Giorgio



Development of silvicultural techniques aimed at increasing the stand’s complexity, both structural and specific, to maintain the productive and protective functions but also to increase carbon fixation and biodiversity.

Good Practice Description

In the presence of high forests characterised by large plants of turkey oak and/or beech, very often of agamic origin, and with the widespread presence of other additional species such as: hornbeam, maple, rowan, ash, willow, hazel, etc., the good practice envisages the adoption of two management approaches:

  • direct the stand towards the high forest (turkey oak or beech domonated) to be treated with successive uniform cuts. The practice involves thinning from above freeing around 60/90 candidate plants from direct competitors. In the case of turkey oak, to limit the shading of the soil and promote regeneration, only the less vigorous sucker is released on each stump at the dominated level, in order to reduce its basal root capability.
  • direct the stand towards a mixed forest, mixing single trees or groups of different species or depending on the case. In this case, plants of other species are chosen as candidates: maple, hornbeam, ash and, even around these, competition is reduced by making a thinning. On the dominated layer, only the best sucker is left on each stump, in order to contribute to the specific diversity of the stand.

Both management options provide for interventions for the enhancement of biodiversity by favouring the presence of trees with microhabitats and dead wood in the short and medium-long term, in different and specific quantities and methods depending on the option.

In any case, the ultimate goal is to maintain traditional functions (hydrogeological protection and timber production) and to increase the effectiveness of emerging ones. All suggested interventions must be sustainable from an economic point of view and allow usability for tourist-recreational activities.

Territorial Context

The good practice was applied within the Bosco Pennataro (Alto Molise), which is located at altitudes ranging between 870 and 1,100 m a.s.l. and is part of the Unesco MAB (Man And Biosphere) Reserve of Collemeluccio and Montedimezzo. The good practice concerns mixed mature high forests with a predominance of turkey oak and/or beech with problems related to past management which are widespread throughout the central-southern Apennines.

Replicability conditions

Nonostante l’apparente complessità degli approcci proposti, le tecniche selvicolturali da adottare in entrambe le opzioni gestionali sono facilmente replicabili, anche grazie ai prodotti e all’attività divulgativa del progetto LIFE ManFor C.BD.

Dissemination material

From the LIFE GoProFor database, in the final part of the sheet, it is possible to download material relating to the project, including a manual where all the good practices implemented are described.