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Single trees stability assessment in beech high forest and factors that could induce windbreak
* 1 , 2 , 1 , 1 , 1
1  Tuscia University


Wind in Europe is the main disturbing factor and the greatest damaging agent of forest stands, causing three times the annual damage caused by fires each year. The amount of trees destroyed by wind annually in Europe is over 38 million cubic meters. Given the importance and extent of the phenomenon of windbreak, this has been one of the main topics on which forestry scientists have focused over time, so much so that already in the mid-90s of the century last there were more than 200 scientific papers. However, most of these studies focused on the prediction of possible wind damage paying attention on the population level and not on a single tree; moreover, almost all of the studies were carried out on conifers. Studies concerning the single tree have been carried out above all in urban forestry, where the trees live in unfavorable contexts and very distant from what could be their optimal living conditions found in forests. The aim of this research was to search for possible correlations between the tree conformation and the crashes caused by windy events. This in order to assess the characteristics predisposing to the crash, in such a way as to provide the forest engineer with useful information in choosing the trees to be take priority in order to reduce the damage caused by windy events. In conjunction with the "Vaia windstorm", which affected much of Northern Italy, another meteoric event also occurred which caused the crash of numerous individuals inside the beech forest located on the summit of Monte Amiata, in Tuscany. In this occasion, an attempt was made to investigate the possible existence of single-tree scale indicators relating to a greater susceptibility to crash, in beech forests of the same age treated to shelterwood system, under the same phytosanitary, edaphic and topographical conditions. The research methodology applied is the same as in other studies carried out on the subject, in such a way as to allow comparison between the results obtained. Various parameters were analyzed, in particular: maximum height, crown insertion height, castle height, height corresponding to the maximum crown width, crown volume and surface. The findings showed that the main variables that had a significant influence on wind crashes were: tree height, crown surface and volume. In particular, the standing trees were taller than those crashed and with a larger crown.

Keywords: Even aged high forest, shelterwood system, windthrow, crown dimension.
Comments on this paper
Alessio Giovannelli
technical question
Dear authors,
I congratulate with you for the interesting work. I am not an expert of the effect of mechanical strenght on tree stability but I have a couple of questions.
- How did you determine the cause of the tree crash in your experiments? Did you follow the wind storm events causing tree crash? Could a rime ice be the cause of such crash?
A more general question: could the fiber orientation and direction have a role in the stability of beech trees?
Emiliano Gennari
Thank you very much for your questions. The reliefs were done in the days after the windstorm; temperature, rainfall and anemometric data of the windstorm were measured from the weather stations near the study area. Of course, rime ice can cause tree crashes, but in this case measured temperatures were not below zero. Influence of fiber direction and orientation in the stability of beech trees can be evaluate in further studies, in this work we did not do it, but maybe it can lead to interesting results.

Piotr Mederski
Dear Authors,

Presented research contributes to the knowledge of tree satbility that can be used in the end in arboriculture of urban greening. Keeping trees in a shape that guarantee higher stability is or can be in interest of managers deciding about shape of urban greening.

Congratulation to your work, more information in this topic brings more stability to those trees surrounding us.

Good luck with further work,

Piotr Mederski
Conference Committee Member
Emiliano Gennari
Thank you very much, I am very pleased for your comment, hoping for future developments and application of wind damage research.