Selective thinning in mature Beech forests

LIFE: Man.For. C.BD.

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

LIFE09 ENV/IT/000078

Life Maestrale - logo


Thinning from above in transitional beech forests characterised by a high density of plants.

Matteucci Giorgio



The Good Practice has a twofold objective:

 • prepare the stand for an effective regeneration phase, favouring the best phenotypes also for the purpose of adapting the forest to climate change;

 • increase the structural complexity of the forest to create habitats and niches for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity.

Good Practice Description

In the high forests resulting from the traditional conversion of beech coppices, typical of the central-southern Apennines, the high density implies limited canopies, difficult natural regeneration, and a homogeneous forest structure not suitable for the conservation and increase of biodiversity. By intervening in these stands with selective thinning from above, it is possible to favour the best individuals destined for dissemination and create new habitats and ecological niches, both through the diversification of the vertical and horizontal structure, and with leaving dead wood on the ground, or, in specific cases, girdling large plants. Where present, it is important to free fir regeneration nuclei.

The number of candidates (still under validation) can vary from 40 to 80 plants per hectare.

Territorial Context

The Good Practice was applied in the Chiarano-Sparvera Regional Forest (AQ) included in the external protection area of the Abruzzo-Lazio-Molise National Park; in a mountain and sub-mountain territorial context with prevalent forest cover. Specifically, the tests were carried out in 70-year-old beech coppice in high forests with a density of around 1.400 plants per hectare.

Replicability conditions

This type of intervention can be easily replicated in the contexts of high-density beech forests resulting from the conversion of coppices, which are frequent especially in the central-southern Apennines.

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.