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Shaping future forestry for sustainable coppices in southern Europe: the legacy of past management trials (LIFE FutureForCoppiceS)
Start date: Oct 1, 2015, End date: Sep 30, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Coppicing is a traditional way of forest management that has been adopted across Europe, particularly in southern countries. In Italy, there are around 3.7 million hectares of coppice (42% of the total forest area according to the FAO definition). Coppice forests provided a number of forest ecosystem goods and services (FGS), from energy (fire wood) and construction material to the extraction of tannins, mushrooms, honey, cork, fodder, fruits, pharmaceutical and aromatic plants. They also represent a favourable environment for hunting. In the past, coppice forests were heavily exploited by growing populations and emerging industries. As the use of non-renewable materials increased, however, coppices lost importance and were neglected or converted. More recently, coppicing is undergoing a renaissance because of its adaptive ecology, stability, protection function, contribution to biodiversity and its use as a source of renewable bioenergy. Forest and environmental resources, however, must be used sustainably. Objectives The LIFE FutureForCoppiceS project aims to demonstrate the sustainability of different management approaches. Existing and newly collected data on consolidated sustainable forest management (SFM) indicators will be evaluated to demonstrate the value of different approaches in ensuring provision of forest ecosystem goods and services (FGS). This will contribute to the knowledge base for SFM and support resource efficiency-related policy. The project also aims to test, demonstrate and disseminate the value of SFM indicators. LIFE FutureForCoppiceS will use consolidated SFM indicators and develop new methods for the collection and reporting of new, functionally oriented ones. This will demonstrate an indicator’s ability to assess the effects of different management approaches and evaluate its applicability within the project context and beyond. This will broaden the knowledge base and strengthen the confidence in the SFM reporting. It will also demonstrate the potential effects that different approaches may have on large geographical scales. Results will be organised in relation to the distribution/extent of the concerned European Forests Types (EFT) located in Tuscany and Sardinia (Italy). Expected results: A database collecting information about the effects of three different management approaches (traditional coppicing, natural evolution, active conversion to high forest) to coppicing at nine existing experimental sites from three EFTs and according to SFM criteria; New data on consolidated and newly proposed SFM indicators at nine sites (45 plots) and three ‘plus’ sites (18 plots), respectively; Six series (one for each SFM criteria) of 11 maps showing the potential effects of different management approaches at local (seven maps), regional (two maps), national (one map) and southern European (one map) level for each EFT (when present); Fifty-four information sheets (one per each of the nine sites and the six SFM criteria) summarising the results obtained from different management approaches at each site; Demonstration of how the consolidated SFM indicators work at the nine sites, in relation to the three concerned EFTs, management approaches and newly suggested indicators; Input for future SFM of coppice in three EFTs in Southern Europe based on their actual response to three management approaches; and Six field manuals (one for each SFM criterion) for newly suggested indicators, applicable at the small scale, and transferable within and beyond the project’s context.

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