Different European countries have interest in reviving the practice of coppice forest management. Despite in temperate forests the understory represents more than 80% of the plant diversity, it remains overlooked. The lack of knowledge is particularly evident for Italy, where coppice forests represent 42.3% of the forest cover and new demands for coppice revival are emerging. We reviewed the literature for Italy on the effect of coppice management on understory plants to summarize results, identify scientific gaps, propose research perspectives and provide management suggestions. The coppice management cycle is suitable for a great number of species with different functional strategies. The environmental changes occurring during tree regeneration after coppicing lead to the decrease of understory species richness and changes in both species and functional composition. Old-coppice forests feature impoverished understories, but they are characterized by less ruderal and alien species, and by shade-tolerant species with traits typical of mature forests. However, several issues remain, leaving uncertainty on the effective coppicing impact on understory, in particular the cross-scale effects of coppice management and the complex response of different diversity facets. We propose future studies to focus on these issues to avoid misleading management messages to users and policymakers.

Beyond commonplace: effects of coppice management on understory plants. Evidences from Italian forests

Chelli S.
Co-primo
;
Cervellini M.
Co-primo
;
Campetella G.
Penultimo
;
Canullo R.
Ultimo
2023-01-01

Abstract

Different European countries have interest in reviving the practice of coppice forest management. Despite in temperate forests the understory represents more than 80% of the plant diversity, it remains overlooked. The lack of knowledge is particularly evident for Italy, where coppice forests represent 42.3% of the forest cover and new demands for coppice revival are emerging. We reviewed the literature for Italy on the effect of coppice management on understory plants to summarize results, identify scientific gaps, propose research perspectives and provide management suggestions. The coppice management cycle is suitable for a great number of species with different functional strategies. The environmental changes occurring during tree regeneration after coppicing lead to the decrease of understory species richness and changes in both species and functional composition. Old-coppice forests feature impoverished understories, but they are characterized by less ruderal and alien species, and by shade-tolerant species with traits typical of mature forests. However, several issues remain, leaving uncertainty on the effective coppicing impact on understory, in particular the cross-scale effects of coppice management and the complex response of different diversity facets. We propose future studies to focus on these issues to avoid misleading management messages to users and policymakers.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11581/472202
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