Core activity deals with applied research to find out consistent criteria and methods of silvicultural practice in the contexts of semi-natural forests, secondary forests, afforestations, up to the restoration of degraded forests and tree farming on set-aside lands. This task is coupled with applied genetics research for the conservation, improvement and selection of tree species material in situ and ex situ aimed at contrasting genetic erosion following pressures, at studying and monitoring specific adaptive traits.
The main goal is to make available to managers and stakeholders suitable tools and updated criteria of sustainable forest management under Alpine and Mediterranean environments.
The preliminary analysis and assessment of prevailing function(s) in each context, identifies the set of techniques allowing maintenance of forest crop “health and vitality” and complying with awaited wood and non-wood productions and environmental issues as well. The analysis of stand mensurational parameters coupled with the analysis of tree species auto-ecology, of site productivity and growth medium condition, of environmental (human included) pressures and disturbances, of local to general expectations, provide the comprehensive means to rule the quite different contexts and patterns. Basic research is being applied to the study of emerging dynamics and resulting patterns following changes in traditional forest management. Adaptive techniques ranging from the revised practice of classical silvicultural systems to tailored management techniques, up to the successful use of natural restoration ability, enable to meet consistently the awaited goals.
Within this frame, focus has been made on the shift of forest management following economic and social changes at country and European level and on the functioning of forest system under the growth environment change. More attention has been therefore addressed to bio-ecological and mensurational monitoring as state and response variable of “health and vitality”, to post-cultivation dynamics, to evolving size, structural and tree composition diversities, to the emerging secondary forests following set-aside of lands formerly managed for agricultural practices or husbandry activity. The analysis of resistance and resilience of forest systems, of their inherent adaptive ability, of their role in the mitigation of change in progress by carbon sequestration and stock into forest crops and soils, are the main issues currently addressing the proposals of adaptive forestry practices.