Research papers

Increasing wood mobilization through Sustainable Forest Management in protected areas of Italy


The European Community has long recognized the need to further promote renewable energy. Under the overall objective to support and enhance sustainable management, the promotion of the use of forest biomass could help to mitigate climate change by substituting fossil fuel, increasing carbon stock in wood products and improve energy self-sufficiency enhancing security of supply and providing job opportunities in rural areas. To what extent Italian forests can satisfy an increased wood demand, without compromising the others Ecosystem Services (ESs) remains an open question. Our aim was to assess the potential supply of woody biomass from the network of protected areas in Italy considering the felling constraints. We estimated the theoretical annual potential increment from forest inventory data performing a correlation with the Corine Land Cover 2006 at the IV level with a 1:100,000 resolution elaborated in a GIS (Geographic Information System) environment. The average annual potential increment at national level available for felling was 4.4 m3ha-1. Within the network of protected areas (EUAP and Natura 2000), the average annual increment, available to felling, was 0.98 m3ha-1, respectively, 0.81 m3ha-1 from coppice and 1.14 m3ha-1 from non-coppice forests. Based on data obtained from this study, the availability of wood materials could be increased of almost 20 % at national level by pursuing an active management within the network of protected areas. In Italy, the actual level of resource utilization is rather low; increasing felling together with the implementation of an active management within protected areas could allow satisfying, theoretically, the Italian wood consumption.


wood mobilisation; protected area; Sustainable Forest Management; woody biomass; supply

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