Research papers

Growth analysis of an aged Turkey oak coppice under conversion into high forest


Most Italian research concerning the conversion of coppices analyse growth response at the stand level and adopt absolute growth as reference metric. Nonetheless, inter-individual interactions are lost when averaging tree level information at the stand level. Moreover, absolute growth ignores the initial size of individuals under comparison, the growth of large trees will thus always outperform that of small trees, and nothing can be inferred about tree-to-tree competition.

We modelled the growth response after conversion thinning at the tree level using relative growth rate as a function of the initial diameter of individuals, stand density and time. Twenty years later, thinned treatments still yielded larger growth than the reference unthinned aged coppice. In the first 10-year period, the relative growth rate in all treatments decreased with increasing tree size. In the second 10-year period, the relative growth rate still decreased with increasing tree size in thinned treatments, whereas in the unthinned aged coppice, it increased with increasing tree size.

The model we applied shows to what extent released individuals have grown in relation to their size and, at same time, provides information on their competitive state in relation to the overall density of stands over time.


coppice conversion; Relative Growth Rate; Turkey oak

Full Text:




Aarts E., Verhage M., Veenvliet J.V., Dolan C.V., van der Sluis S. 2014 – A solution to dependency: using multi-level analysis to accommodate nested data. Nature Neuroscience Nature Research 17: 491–496.

Amorini E., Bruschini S., Cutini A., Di Lorenzo M.G., Fabbio G. 1996 – Treatment of Turkey oak (Quercus cerris L.) coppices. Structure, biomass and silvicultural options. Annali Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura 27: 121-129.

Amorini E., Fabbio G. 1986 - L'avviamento all' altofusto nei cedui a prevalenza di cerro. Risultati di una prova sperimentale a 15 anni dalla sua impostazione. Primo contributo. Annali Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura XVII: 7-101.

Amorini E., Fabbio G. 1987 - Studio auxometrico in un ceduo invecchiato e in una fustaia da polloni di faggio, sull'Appennino toscano: Primo contributo. Annali Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura XIV: 283-328.

Amorini E., Fabbio G. 1989 – L'avviamento all'altofusto nei cedui a prevalenza di cerro. Risultati di una prova sperimentale a 15 anni dalla sua impostazione. Studio auxometrico. Secondo contributo. Annali Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura XVIII: 19-70.

Amorini E., Fabbio G. 1991- Ricerche sull’invecchiamento dei cedui: riflessi sul trattamento di conversione. L'Italia Forestale e Montana XLV (3): 193-204.

Amorini E., Fabbio G. 1992 - The coppice area in Italy. General aspects, cultivation trends and state of knowledge. In: Proceeding of workshop ‘Improvement of coppice forests in the Mediterranean region’. Arezzo, 1992. Annali Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura XXIII: 292-298.

Amorini E., Fabbio G., Cantiani P. 2006 – Avviamento ad altofusto e dinamica naturale nei cedui a prevalenza di cerro. Risultati di una prova sperimentale a 35 anni dalla sua impostazione. Il protocollo di Valsavignone (Arezzo). Annali Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura 33: 115-132. ISSN 0390-0010.

Amorini E., Fabbio G., Frattegiani M., Manetti M.C. 1988 - L'affrancamento radicale dei polloni. Studio sugli apparati radicali in un soprassuolo avviato ad altofusto di faggio. Annali Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura XIX: 201-261.

Amorini E., Fabbio G., Bertini G. 2010 – Dinamica del ceduo oltre turno e avviamento ad alto fusto dei cedui di faggio. Risultati del protocollo “Germano Gambi” sull’Alpe di Catenaia (Arezzo). Annali del Centro di Ricerca per la Selvicoltura 36: 151–172.

Apulia Region 2010 – Regional Council Resolution n. 2250 (26/10/2010) – Interventi forestali e selvicolturali nelle aree protette: indicazioni tecniche. Bollettino Ufficiale della Regione Puglia n. 166.

Assmann E. 1970 – The principles of Forest Yield Study. Pergamon Press Ltd.

Bernetti G. 1981 – Ipotesi sullo sviluppo dei boschi cedui e relative considerazioni selvicolturali e assestamentali. Monti e Boschi (5): 61-66.

Bertini G., Fabbio G., Piovosi M., Calderisi M. 2012 – Densità di biomassa e necromassa legnosa in cedui invecchiati di leccio in Sardegna e di faggio in Toscana. [Tree biomass and deadwood density into aged holm oak (Sardinia) and beech coppices (Tuscany)]. Forest@ 9: 108-129.

Biondi E., Casavecchia S., Biscotti N. 2008 – Forest biodiversity of the Gargano Peninsula and a critical revision of the syntaxonomy of the mesophilous woods of southern Italy. Fitosociologia 45 (2): 93–127.

Blackman V.H. 1919 – The compound interest law and plant growth. Annals of Botany, Volume 33 (3): 353–360.

Boncina A., Kadunc A., Robic D. 2007 - Effects of selective thinning on growth and development of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forest stands in south-eastern Slovenia. Annals of Forest Science 64: 47–57.

Cañellas I., Del Río M., Roig S., Montero G. 2004 – Growth response to thinning in Quercus pyrenaica coppice stands in Spanish central mountain. Annals of Forest Science 61: 243–250.

Cannel M.G.R., Rothery P., Ford E.D. 1984 – Competition within stands of Picea sitchensis and Pinus contorta. Annals of Botany 53: 349-362.

Causton D.R., Venus J.C. 1981 – The Biometry of Plant Growth. Edward Arnold, London. 307 p.

Clauser F. 1981 – Un'ipotesi auxonomica da verificare. Monti e Boschi XXXII (2-3): 98-98.

Coleman J.S., McConnaughay K.D.M., Ackerly D.D. 1994 – Interpreting phenotypic variation in plants. Tree 9 (5).

Corcuera L., Camarero J.J., Sisó S., Gil-Pelegrı́n E. 2006 – Radial-growth and wood-anatomical changes in overaged Quercus pyrenaica coppice stands: functional responses in a new Mediterranean landscape. Trees 20: 91–98.

Cutini A. 2006 – Taglio di avviamento, ceduazione e matricinatura: effetti sulle caratteristiche della copertura forestale in cedui a prevalenza di cerro. Annali Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura 33: 21-30.

DeMalach N., Zaady E., Weiner J., Kadmon R. 2016 – Size asymmetry of resource competition and the structure of plant communities. Journal of Ecology 4: 899–910.

Evans G.C. 1972 – The Quantitative Analysis of Plant Growth. University of California Press.

Fabbio G. 1994 - Dinamica della popolazione arborea in un ceduo di cerro in invecchiamento. Annali Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura XXIII: 41-72.

Fabbio G. 2016 – Coppice forests, or the changeable aspect of things, a review. Annals of Silvicultural Research 40 (2): 108-132.

Fabbio G., Amorini E. 2006 – Avviamento ad altofusto e dinamica naturale nei cedui a prevalenza di cerro. Risultati di una prova sperimentale a 35 anni dalla sua impostazione. Il protocollo di Caselli (Pisa). Annali Istituto Sperimentale di Selvicoltura Arezzo 33: 79–104.

Fisher R.A. 1921 – Some remarks on the methods formulated in a recent article on 'The quantitative analysis of plant growth'. Annals of Applied Biology 7: 367-372.

Ford E.D., Diggle P.J. 1981 – Competition for light in a plant monoculture modelled as a spatial stochastic process. Annals of Botany 48: 481-500.

Ford E.D. 1982 – High Productivity in a Polestage Sitka Spruce Stand and its Relation to Canopy Structure. Forestry 55(1).

Franklin O., Aoki K., Seidl R. 2009 – A generic model of thinning and stand density effects on forest growth, mortality and net increment. Annals of Forest Science 66: 815.

Freckleton R.P., Watkinson A.R. 2001 – Asymmetric competition between plant species. Functional Ecology 15: 615 – 623.

Gasparini P., Tabacchi G. (a cura di) 2011 – L’Inventario Nazionale delle Foreste e dei serbatoi forestali di Carbonio INFC 2005. Secondo inventario forestale nazionale italiano. Metodi e risultati. Edagricole-Il Sole 24 ore, Bologna. 653 p. ISBN 978-88-506-5394-2.

Hoffmann W.A., Poorter H. 2002 – Avoiding Bias in Calculations of Relative Growth Rate. Annals of Botany 90 (1): 37–42.

Hubert M. 1983 – L'amélioration des taillis par balivage intensif. Institut pour le Development Forestier, Paris.117 p.

Hunt R. 1982 - Plant Growth Curves. The Functional Approach to Plant Growth Analysis. Edward Arnold (Publishers) Limited.

La Marca O., Avolio S., Tomaiuolo M. 2008 – Prove di avviamento ad altofusto in un ceduo di cerro (Quercus cerris L.) del Gargano: primi risultati. Annali del Centro di Ricerca per la Selvicoltura 35: 25–33.

La Marca O., Marziliano P.A., Moretti N., Perna A., Santoro A. 2002 – Prove di conversione in un ceduo di cerro (Quercus cerris) del Gargano. L’Italia Forestale e Montana 6: 533–552.

La Marca O., Scopigno D., Tomaiuolo M. 2009 – Primi risultati in prove di avviamento in un ceduo misto del Gargano. Forest@ 6: 120–128.

Larocque G.R. 1998 – Functional growth analysis of red pine trees under variable intensities of competition. The Forestry Chronicle 74 (5).

Larocque G.R., Marshall P.R. 1993 – Evaluating the impact of competition using relative growth rate in red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.) stands. Forest Ecology and Management 58 (1–2): 65-83.

Mairota P., Buckley P. 2018 – The Status of Coppice Management within Forested Natura 2000 Sites. In: “Coppice Forests in Europe”. A. Unrau, G. Becker, R. Spinelli, D. Lazdina, N. Magagnotti, V.N. Nicolescu, P. Buckley, D. Bartlett, P.D. Kofman (Eds.). Freiburg i. Br., Germany: Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg: 135-138.

Mariotti B., Alberti G., Maltoni A., Tani A., Piussi P. 2017 – Beech coppice conversion to high forest: results from a 31-year experiment in Eastern Pre-Alps. Annals of Forest Science 74: 44. DOI:

Mayor X., Rodà F. 1993 – Growth response of holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) to commercial thinning in the Montseny mountains (NE Spain). Annales des sciences forestières, INRA/EDP Sciences 50 (3): 247-256.

McGrath M.J., Luyssaert S., Meyfroidt P., Kaplan J.O., Bürgi M., Chen Y., Erb K., Gimmi U., McInerney D., Naudts K., Otto J., Pasztor F., Ryder J., Schelhaas M.J., Valade A. 2015 – Reconstructing European forest management from 1600 to 2010. Biogeosciences, 12: 4291-4316.

Mencuccini M., Martínez Vilalta J., Vanderklein D., Hamid H.A., Korakaki E., Lee S., Michiels B. 2005 – Size mediated ageing reduces vigour in trees. Ecology Letters 8 (11): 1183-1190.

Motta R., Berretti R., Dotta A., Motta Fre V., Terzuolo P.G. 2015 – Il governo misto [Mixed management]. Sherwood - Foreste e alberi oggi 211: 5-9.

Müllerová J., Hédl R., Szabó P. 2015 – Coppice abandonment and its implications for species diversity in forest vegetation. Forest Ecolology and Management 343: 88-100.

Nicolescu V.N., Carvalho J., Hochbichler E., Bruckman V., Piqué-Nicolau M., Hernea C., Viana H., Štochlová P., Ertekin M., Tijardovic M., Dubravac T., Vandekerkhove K., Kofman P.D., Rossney D., Unrau A. 2017 – Silvicultural guidelines for European coppice forests. COST Action FP1301 Reports. Freiburg, Germany: Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg.

Notarangelo M., La Marca O., Moretti N. 2018 – Long-term effects of experimental cutting to convert an abandoned oak coppice into transitional high forest in a protected area of the Italian Mediterranean region. Forest Ecology and Management 430: 241-249.

Oliver C.D., Larson B.C. 1986 – Forest Stand Dynamics, Update Edition. Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Other Publications.

Paine C.E.T., Marthews T.R, Vogt D.R., Purves D., Rees M., Hector A., Turnbull L.A. 2012 – How to fit nonlinear plant growth models and calculate growth rates: an update for ecologists. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 3: 245–256.

Perry D.A. 1985 – The competition process in forest stands. In: “Attributes of Trees as Crop Plant “. M.G.R. Cannell and J.E. Jackson, eds. Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Abbots Ripton, Hunts: 481-506.

Pinheiro J., Bates D., DebRoy S., Sarkar D., R Core Team 2019 – nlme: Linear and Nonlinear Mixed Effects Models. R package version 3.1.

Pinheiro J., Bates D. 2000 – Mixed-Effects Models in S and S-PLUS. SpringerVerlag New York.

Pommerening A., Muszta A. 2016 – Relative plant growth revisited: Towards a mathematical standardisation of separate approaches. Ecological Modelling 320: 383–392.

R Core Team 2019 – R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.

Rees M., Osborne C.P., Woodward I., Hulme S.P., Turnbull L.A., Taylor S.H. 2010 – Partitioning the Components of Relative Growth Rate: How Important Is Plant Size Variation? The American Naturalist 176 (6).

Rentch J.S., Miller G.W., Gottschalk K.W. 2009 – Crown Class Dynamics of Oaks, Yellow-Poplar, and Red Maple after Commercial Thinning in Appalachian Hardwoods: 20-Year Results. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 26(4).

Soares A.A.V., Leite H.G., Souza A.L., Silva S.R., Lourenço H.M., Forrester D.I. 2016 – Increasing stand structural heterogeneity reduces productivity in Brazilian Eucalyptus monoclonal stands. Forest Ecology and Management 373: 26-32.

South D.B. 1991 – Testing the hypothesis that mean relative growth rates eliminate size-related growth differences in tree seedlings. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science 21(2/3): 144-164.

Stoneman G.L., Whitford K. 1995 – Analysis of the concept of growth efficiency in Eucalyptus marginata (jarrah) in relation to thinning, fertilising and tree characteristics. Forest Ecology and Management 76: 47-53.

Unrau A., Becker G., Spinelli R., Lazdina D., Magagnotti N., Nicolescu V.N., Buckley P., Bartlett D., Kofman P.D. 2018 – Coppice Forests in Europe. Freiburg i. Br., Germany: Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. ISBN 978-39817340-2-7.

Van Laar A., Akça A. 2007 – Forest Mensuration. Springer, P.O. Box 17, 3300 AA Dordrecht, The Netherlands. ISBN-13 978-1-4020-5991-9.

Vanclay J.K. 1994 – Modelling forest growth and yield : applications to mixed tropical forests. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.

Vospernik S., Monserud R.A., Sterba H. 2010 – Do individual-tree growth models correctly represent height: diameter ratios of Norway spruce and Scots pine? Forest Ecology and Management 260: 1735–1753.

Wareing P.F. 1966 - The physiologist's approach to tree growth. In: Physiology in Forestry (R.W.V. Palmer Ed.), Supplement to Forestry, Oxford University press, London: 7–18.

Weiner J. 1990 - Asymmetric competition in plant populations. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 5 (11): 360-364.

Wenk G., Antanaitis V., Smelko S. 1990 – Waldertragslehre. [Forest growth and yield science]. Deutscher Landwirtschaftsverlag, Berlin.

Wenk G. 1978 – Mathematische Formulierung von Wachstumsprozessen in der Forstwirtschaft. [Mathematical formulation of growth processes in forestry]. Beiträge für die forstwirtschaft 1: 25–30.

Westboy M. 1984 – The self-thinning rule. Advances in Ecological Research 14: 167–225.

Zhang Z., Papaik M.J., Wang X., Hao Z., Ye J., Lin F., Yuan Z. 2017 – The effect of tree size, neighborhood competition and environment on tree growth in an old-growth temperate forest. Journal of Plant Ecology 10 (6): 970–980.

Copyright (c) 2021 Monica Notarangelo, Orazio La Marca

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License

All texts reported in and all materials directly downloadable from this page are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.