Title Restoration and redistribution of Rhamnus alpina to guarantee a source of food to the brown bear

LIFE: Life Arctos

Arctos - Conservation of the brown bear: coordinated actions for the Alpine and Apennine area

LIFE09 NAT/IT/000160

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Interventions aimed at managing buckthorn plants to ensure the brown bear a long-term trophic resource.

Gentile Carmelo



Redevelop, recover, and re-spread the buckthorn (Rhamnus alpina), through experimental silvicultural interventions of thinning in beech forest, coppicing of old buckthorn plants and planting of new seedlings, thus guaranteeing the long-term productivity available for bears.

Good Practice Description

The interventions that can favour the restoration, depending on the situation, are:

 • the thinning of the forest stands (typically beech woods) in contact with the buckthorn areas;

 • the coppicing of old buckthorn plants;

 • protection of the buckthorn from overgrazing;

 • the planting of new seedlings.

To evaluate the opportunity of intervention in nearby forest stands which are encroaching the areas with buckthorn the interface index is used, intervening in the case of a value greater than or equal to 50%. The intervention will have to provide for the progressive thinning of the margins to increase the amount of solar radiation on the buckthorn plants. If possible, aim for elliptical holes with an east-west orientation.

To revitalize the buckthorn plants that are a little dry or damaged by grazing, the stumps can be cut at the base in order to stimulate their regrowth. Provide protection to groups of stumps with chestnut poles and wire mesh positioned so as to hinder wild and domestic animals, but not the bear.

Territorial Context

The good practice was applied to buckthorn plants found in wooded pastures surrounded by forest stands of the Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise National Park.

Replicability conditions

Coppicing and thinning of adjacent stands do not present particular technical difficulties and can, therefore, be replicated in other contexts characterised by the presence of bears and buckthorns that need to be restored and spread. In the case of areas with a strong presence of wild and domestic animals grazing, provide suitable and effective protection systems.

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 the technical report relating to the interventions for the redevelopment, recovery and re-diffusion of the ramneti.