Though the importance of coppicing for the conservation of forest biodiversity is acknowledged, little is known about flora diversity and how it may be affected by the perceptions, constraints and regulations governing how loggers choose to exploit forest resources. Building on previous research on coppiced forests in the central Italian Apennines, unstructured and structured social surveys were performed along with structural and compositional vegetation sampling to determine how the ecology of the understory flora, where most of the biodiversity is found, may be affected by direct and indirect interactions between formal rules, namely Marche Region prescriptions, and informal rules applied in coppicing management. We identified economic/logistical and ecological variables that influence change in understory plant communities, particularly focusing on specialist forest species, and we explored how commercial, private and group property (Comunanza Agraria) loggers are influenced by these variables in deciding whether a forest is suitable for coppicing. Our insights on the relationships between the human and the ecological dimensions of the coppicing system suggest that the users prefer specific forest conditions because they facilitate efficient harvesting. These conditions also happen to be compatible with the life cycle of the specialist forest species in the ground flora. The stand attributes considered to be indicators of productivity drive decision making almost independently from (but largely compatibly with) formal rules. This is true across the three groups of loggers. These attributes seem to act as determinants of the conservation of the functional diversity of understory plant species, at plot and forest patch scale. We conclude that economically viable coppicing can occur after the stumps have been allowed to regenerate and grow beyond a certain diameter. This enables understory conditions favorable to forest specialist plants to re-establish and makes the present coppicing regime compatible with conservation of the diversity of these species in the forest landscape. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.
|Titolo:||Relationships between understory species specialists and local management practices in coppiced forests – Evidence from the Italian Apennines|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Articolo|