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Characterisation of woody necromass in beech forests with different anthropic accessibility: the case of La Rioja (ES)
* 1 , 2 , 3 , 1
1  Department of Agriculture and Forest Sciences (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, 01100, Viterbo, Italy
2  Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science, University of Nevada, 1664 N. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89557, USA
3  Higher Polytechnic School of Engineering, University of Santiago de Compostela, Benigno Ledo s/n E-27002, Lugo, Spain


The presence of deadwood is undeniably essential in natural environments for its ecological role. In forest ecosystems, deadwood contributes to the protection of biodiversity, mitigation of climate change, soil protection against erosion, and playing an essential role within biogeochemical cycles, contributing to forest productivity by slowly releasing nutrients and moisture. We assessed the amount of deadwood in four macro-areas within two beech forests located on areas of public utility of Enciso (community of La Rioja, Spain). These areas were different in terms of silvicultural management and proximity to reforested stands of Pinus sylvestris. In each macro-area three circular sample plots were placed at an increasing distance from the access road to the forests: from 20 to 60 m, 60 to 100 m and 100 to 140 m. Dendrometric data and qualitative and quantitative characteristics of deadwood (snags, logs and dead stumps) were collected, and analyzed with respect to the degree of accessibility to the forest 1) to reconstruct past management history of the two stands, and 2) to determine the effect of different levels of forest accessibility on deadwood volume and carbon stocks, estimated using coefficients established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The amounts of deadwood and carbon stored per ha were higher than the values reported in the Spanish and Italian national forest inventories, including the one developed for the Riojan beech woods. Deadwood volume was on average 22.5 m³ ha-1, showing an unequal distribution depending on the distance from the access roads. Deadwood volume decreased dramatically from the areas close to the access roads moving into the forest, passing from 31.6 m³ ha-1 to 25.7 m³ ha-1 to only 9.9 m³ ha-1 (respectively in the first, second, and third class of accessibility). The decomposition classes were all present, indicating the development of natural degradation dynamics. Finally, the carbon sequestrated in the deadwood was 27.9 t ha-1 in the first accessibility class, 22.7 t ha-1 in the second accessibility class, and 9.7 t ha-1 in the third accessibility class, for an average of 20.1 t ha-1. The distribution patterns of deadwood in beech forests of La Rioja, apparently counterintuitive, were due to a combination of different factors, including slope, cattle grazing, and weather conditions which might have favoured downward movement of the deadwood. Furthermore, the presence of several standing dead trees near the access roads suggests a preference for removal of deadwood from local population in the more distant areas.

Keywords: Deadwood; beech forests; decomposition classes; accessibility classes; carbon
Comments on this paper
Domenico Fallucchi
info about the Technical Plan for the Management of Forest Resources
Dear Authors, does the Thecnical Plan for Management of Forest Resources provide for the collection of deadwood by local population for energy use? What are the possible collection restictions?
Ilaria Collepardi
Dear Domenico Fallucchi, thank you for your interest and for your questions.
We thus have the opportunity to explain that the Forest Plan of La Rioja does not provide for the collection of deadwood by local populations, as happens in Italy. In some Italian areas, local populations can apply to collect wood fallen to the ground in public forests; in other areas, however, this is expressly forbidden. The Forest Plan of La Rioja does not mention this opportunity for local populations. Firewood collection is usually not quantitatively considered in forest management plans unless in very specific cases, such those where firewood collection has commercial purposes and not just satisfying the demand of local populations.

Rodolfo Picchio
Session Chair comment
Dear Authors,

congratulation for this study. Two of the main aspects of forest monitoring and management are joined together in this research. Deadwood, and its ecological role, has been wisely measured and analysed along with an interesting connection to the degree of accessibility to the forest. This latter aspect is a recurring issue of road network planning, taking into consideration ecological aspects in order to ensure an effective sustainability of silvicultural activities.
The information about dendrometric parameters, site conditions and management history of the two beech stands, make results consistent with the local framework where the study has been carried out. I hope to read about this research in some full papers soon.

Session Chair

Rodolfo Picchio
Ilaria Collepardi
Dear Session Chair Rodolfo Picchio,

I would like to extend a huge thank you on behalf of all of us for your interest in our research and for giving us the opportunity to participate in this first international e-conference on forests.

During this time, discussing such important topics is a very necessary experience. Congratulations on making this possible.

Best regards,

Ilaria Collepardi