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Forest management scenarios to reduce the fire risk in chestnut coppices in the Mediterranean area


Chestnut coppices are among the formation most affected by fires in the Mediterranean environment. In the absence of cultivation treatments, the structure of the stands appears without vertical and horizontal interruptions in the canopy, with a considerable expansion of the fuel load. In this study, we showed the importance of silvicultural interventions on the mitigation of the fire in the chestnut coppices of southern Italy. In the study sites, we estimated the pyrological potential in terms of heat energy produced per surface unit and the variation in the critical surface intensity. Following silvicultural interventions, the reduction of heat energy is between 12.5 and 50%, and the extinguishing water saving are between 270 and 1,157 Mg·ha-1. The reduction of the probability of the passage of the surface fire to a crown fire can be up to 375%. With the same environmental conditions and dendro-structural characteristics, most effective interventions were observed for rotation cycles of 30 years, compared to shorter rotation cycles. This study showed the importance that silvicultural interventions, such as cleaning and bottom-up thinning, have at both the stand and territorial level on fire risk mitigation.


Heat Energy; Critical Surface Intensity; Water Saving; Cleaning and Thinning; Fuel Load Reduction; Intervention Planning

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