Structures of old-growth beech forests in the Pollino and Cilento areas

Francesco iovino, Pasquale Antonio Marziliano, Giuliano Menguzzato, Antonino Nicolaci


In Italy there are several forests in which the absence of significant human impact for quite a long period has favoured natural dynamics and the creation of complex structures rich in biodiversity. Today, these forest stands can be considered as old-growth forests. Through the analysis of the structure of living and dead biomass, this study aims at identifying the evolution phase of some old-growth beech forests in the Southern Apennines (Campania and Calabria), in relation to past human influence (silvicultural practices) and natural causes following abandonment. Results reveal the presence of 300-350 year-old trees and articulated vertical
profiles, typical of complex structures. Deadwood is quite abundant (50-90 m3ha-1). The analysis of horizontal structure shows abundant regeneration in gaps caused by the death of big trees. Stand structures and deadwood characteristics are typical of old phases of forest dynamics confirming the old-growth character of these beech stands.


old-growth beech forests; structural profiles; deadwood.

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