Sustainable Forest Management Indicators suitable for agamic forests

FutureForCoppiceS - Sustainable management of coppice forests in southern Europe: indications for the future from the legacy of experimental trials

LIFE14 ENV/IT/000514

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Sustainable Forest Management for coppices, with particular reference to holm oak, turkey oak and beech stands with three different management options: traditional coppice, natural evolution and conversion to high forest.


Select, test and disseminate Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) indicators suitable for agamic forests. In fact, despite the widely distribution of these forests in Europe, the Forest Europe SFM indicators are designed mainly for gamic forests.

Good Practice Description

FutureForCoppices tested 38 indicators within the 6 criterions of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM); 26 of these turned out to be appropriate for evaluating agamic forests.

Among these 26, the good practice identified 7 indicators that are the most suitable to assess the sustainability of the three different management options taken into account:

Carbon stock, Growing stock, Total epigeous biomass (criterion 1 - contribution of forests to the global carbon cycle), Undergrowth coverage (criterion 5 - protective functions of forests), Net income, energy, accessibility for recreational purposes (criterion 6 - socio-economic functions and conditions).

The achievement of these objectives was also made possible thanks to the availability of historical data relating to 45 permanent plots distributed in Tuscany and Sardinia. These plots represent 3 different European Forest Types (mountainous beech forests, thermophilous deciduous forests, broadleaved evergreen forests) that are subjected to 3 different management options: traditional coppice, natural evolution and conversion to high forest. With reference to the SFM criterion, each of these options favors different aspects of sustainability.

Territorial Context

The testing sites for the new SFM indicators were distributed in Tuscany and Sardinia: for mountainous beech forests the study site was Buca Zamboni located on the Alpe di Catenaia in the Forest complex of the Casentinesi Forests - Province of Arezzo - managed by the Union of Mountain Municipalities of the Casentinesi Forests; for thermophilous deciduous forests (Turkey oak) Poggio Pievano located in the Colline Metallifere - Province of Grosseto - managed by the Union of Mountain Municipalities of Colline Metallifere; for broadleaved evergreen forests (Holm oak) Is Cannoneris Forest - Province of Cagliari - managed by the Regional Forestry Agency for the Development of the Territory and Environment of Sardinia.

Replicability conditions

Tested indicators can work widely on Mediterranean coppices and the project gives free access to the database with several technical guidelines on how use them. Moreover, the main lesson learned from this good practices is easily replicable and involve the territorial scale: the mosaic created by the co-existence of the three management options guaranteed high levels of sustainability.

Dissemination material

Several products from to the project are available on GoProFor database for download: 3 technical manuals on the 7 indicators resulted as the more suitable for coppices, with a scientific summary and integrated project’s results assessment, and the Layman’s report.