Review papers

Gaps and perspectives for the improvement of the sweet chestnut forest-wood chain in Italy


Abstract


The paper provides a summary regarding the current state of silviculture and the use of sweet chestnut wood (Castanea sativa Mill.) in Italy. Existing opportunities for chestnut silviculture are very promising because sweet chestnut covers nearly 800,000 hectares in Italy, representing almost 2.6% of the total area of the country, including 7.5% of national forest areas. In some geographic areas, especially in central-southern Italy, sweet chestnut is the only driver of the sawmill economy. In Italy, this species is typically harvested to produce solid beams and poles. In the field of load-bearing structures, research and innovation in silviculture have provided solutions to the growing use of industrial technologies, and sweet chestnut has become integrated into European standards with the same relevanceas the most commonly most used wood species, such as Norway spruce. However, diversification in wood products is lacking in regions that produce sweet chestnut, as the sawmills tend to be very chestnut-centric, and in terms of the types of final products sweet chestnut is applied to. The typical end uses for sweet chestnut represents a major weakness associated with the massive exploitation of chestnut wood. In addition, the production of sawmills in Italy has decreased recently due to the crisis-driven reductions inactivity. This transition has affected the traditional building sector. The most common wood quality defects associated with sweet chestnut, which limit the use of this species for other wood products, are well known by producers. To boost the demand for this wood, efforts must be made to identify more versatile uses for this wood, promoting differential forest management systems to obtain stems that can be utilised in other types of final products. A list of possible actions is considered to increase the applications for this species, which represents one of the best opportunities to develop a short supply chain.


Keywords

Coppice; Short Supply Chain; Bioeconomy; Wood Products; Wood Quality; Tannins

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12899/asr-2203

References


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