Land suitability assessment of short rotation coppice plantations in Italy

Riccardo Salvati, Gherardo Chirici, Piermaria Corona


Limited financial resources and the complex network of socio-economical and ecological constraints which affect land uses in Italy require a careful selection of farmland areas where short rotation forestry can be fostered and,
hence, the adoption of adequate planning tools. In this perspective, the aim of this research note is to develop a spatial model for assessing the physical suitability of the Italian territory to grow short rotation coppice plantations for energy biomass production. The model is based on a land suitability/land capability approach implemented by a GIS-based fuzzy MultiCriteria Evaluation process. Results show that in Italy suitable farmland for short rotation coppice plantations amounts to 1301051 ha, and marginally suitable farmland to 5380431 ha. The model outcome in form of digital maps can be easily used as a decision support tool by the regional agricultural and forest managers and rural planning decision makers.


short-rotation-forestry; land suitability assessment; land use planning.

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