Assessment of Soil Protection to Support Forest Planning: an Experience in Southern Italy

Fabrizio Ferretti, Paolo Cantiani, Isabella De Meo, Alessandro Paletto


Aim of study: to support landscape planning when soil-erosion control and water cycle regulation represent relevant issues for forest management. A methodological approach - based on simplified index – is proposed in order to assess the protective efficacy of forests on soils (indirect protection). This method is aimed at supporting technicians who are requested to define the most suitable management guidelines and silvicultural treatments.
Area of study: Southern Apennines (Alto Agri district – Basilicata Region - Italy), where a landscape planning experimentation was implemented.
Material and Methods: The data to estimate the parameters used for the simplified index calculation are retrieved from a non aligned systematic forest inventory. The method considers: 1) the tendency towards instability, 2) the protective action of forest cover and 3) different silvicultural options.
Main results: For the analysed forest categories, the results indicate the situations in which hydrogeological hazard is high. The cross-reading of these data with the values based on years of partial and total uncovering of the ground according to different silvicultural options (for each forest category in the reference period of 100 years) has supported the definition of silviculture treatments and management options suitable for the considered forest formations.
Research highlights: The proposed method can effectively support technicians in the field by highlighting situations of major hazard risk. Thanks to the joined assessment of different silvicultural options for each forest category, a series of silvicultural treatments, capable of better protecting the soil, can be already defined in the field survey phase.

Key words: Alto Agri district (Italy); Forest Landscape Management Planning (FLMP); management; silvicultural treatment; protective function and soil erosion.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2014231-03345