The proposed concerted action aims to:
-prepare a preliminary inventory of the problems concerning coppice forests in the different countries, both for specific typologies and for socio-economic aspects;
-establish priorities among the suggested research items, both at the local and at the regional level;
-evaluate the actual working capacities of the institutions, with attention to their possible participation in the different research sectors;
-contact other institutions of the different countries interested in a possible participation to the project;
-investigate and discuss the interest and possibility to include short term industrial coppices in the project.
Several research institutions from EC countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Greece, Italy) have confirmed their interest to participate to a comprehensive research project on different aspects related to the present problems of coppice forests in the Mediterranean area.
All of them underline the need to acquire a better knowledge on the biological aspects as a basis to define the management system, as well as a basis to establish experiments on new silvicultural methods. Some institutions especially refer to specific local problems, related to management and silvicultural aspects, but a general consensus appears on the need of research on ecological and physiological problems.
Almost all the institutions suggest that special attention be devoted to chestnust coppices; this is likely due to the fact that the main product of these stands, poles and stakes, are still in high demand, whilst wood from chestnut high forest is quite valuable and demanded.
Interest has been expressed for coppices of different oak species, as Quervus pirenaica, (Spain), Quercus cerris, (Italy), Quervus conferta, (Greece), Quercus ilex, (France): this typical Mediterranean forest type deserves attention because of its importance both for soil protection and landscape improvement.
A comparison between the research themes suggested by the preliminary answers of the contacted institutions and the need for a better knowledge on the biological, eco-physiological, silvicultural and technological aspects, strongly underlines that direct contacts and discussions among the interested scientists are necessary in order to prepare a well structured research project on Mediterranean coppices.
The result of the concerted action will be the final elaboration of a comprehensive research project to be submitted to EC for financial support; the action programme will take in due account the effective working capacities of the interested institutions, namely number of scientists and of technical assistants, laboratory facilities and equipment, financial means.