Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

FP5

MED-CORE Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: ICA3-CT-2002-10003
Gefördert unter: FP5-INCO 2
Land: Italy

Recommendations for forestry in coastal zones

Pinus pinea woods stretch over a large area along the coasts of Italy, mostly, in Tuscany and Lazio. These woods derive from afforestations done during the XX century, even if the cultivation of pine was practised long time before with different criteria, to create a shelterbelt protecting the interior settlements and farmland from sea winds, to fix coastal dunes and to produce the seed (pinolo) highly appreciated for nutrition.

Through time their aesthetic value was more and more appreciated so that they became a relevant part of the landscape important also for recreational activities. During the last decades some relevant environmental processes developed and influenced to pinewoods. The most relevant locally is the coast erosion, a phenomenon taking place in several sandy coasts of the Mediterranean. Current data show that about 25 % of European coastlines experiences erosion (EEA, 2006); of course as recently remarked by the EEA (2006), erosion is a natural process which allows accretion in other parts of the coastline and it is not negative per se, but becomes a risk for settlements and human population.

In 10 out of 12 countries where over-exploitation of groundwater are reported, saltwater intrusion results (EEA, 2006). Besides large areas of the Mediterranean coastline in Italy, Spain and Turkey are reported to be affected by saltwater intrusion (EEA, 2003 c.f. EEA 2006). The salinity of the water table is, apparently, influenced by this event, but in the same direction, that is an increase in water table salinity, act the reduction of precipitations (especially during the winter period) and the increased water consumption for domestic and agricultural purposes. Water table salinisation is hindering sap flow and therefore stresses pines physiology. This fact increases also the susceptibility of trees to insect attacks (mainly Tomicus destruens) which kill the pines.

The results of our research show quite clearly, within an important pinewood of the Southern coast of Tuscany, the Pineta di Alberese, included in the Regional Nature Park of Maremma, the relevant environmental factors (precipitation, water table level , variations, salinity) and the connections with pine’s sap flow. The situation of the Pineta di Alberese is representative of most coastal pinewoods as far as the environment (climate, soils, water table), the traditional production (pine cones have a substantial economic role; timber production and grazing are rarely relevant), soil protection and shelterbelt function. From the economic point of view the recreation use is the most important, since pinewoods are highly appreciated not only as a camping ground but also as a typical landscape element. It is therefore extremely important to increase the stability of these woods.

The problems should be faced in various ways: reducing coast erosion, reducing the water consumption by agriculture, gardening and other civil uses, reducing water consumption by forest vegetation. Our research has shown that thinnings of young stands and reduction of shrub density can improve the water budget of the tree layer. The impact of heavy machinery in forestry operations should be monitored to prevent soil compaction. Obviously these silvicultural measures should be adopted only when other characteristics and functions of woods (soil protection, biodiversity, fire danger etc.) have been taken into account.

References:
EEA, 2003. Europe's water: An indicator-based assessment. Topic report No 1/2003.
EEA, 2006. The changing faces of Europe's coastal areas. Topic report No 6/2006.

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Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Ambientali e Forestali
via San Bonaventura 13 Quaracchi
50145 Firenze
Italy
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