Talking Chestnut – New techniques for monitoring the carbon balance and health of wood and fruit chestnut stands

In a large part of the Italian Apennines, the chestnut stands are evolving towards mixed forests with a predominant presence of Castanea sativa Mill., losing the structural characteristics for the traditional fruit production. In facing this process of renaturalization, the Emilia Romagna Region recognizes the desirability of maintaining also the traditional chestnut fruit production in the Apennines, as a resource for the mountain economy and as a typical element of the landscape and tradition. Therefore, the recovery and maintenance of the traditional chestnut fruit stands can be performed on small areas (<500 m2) within the forest matrix (Art. 30, Forestry Regulations), where the more suitable conditions occur, considering both the phytoclimatic and the micro-stationary characteristics.

In this framework, the project aims to assess the ecological footprints associated to the recovery of the traditional chestnut fruit stands, in terms of C sink and stock in the soil-tree system, water use and land cover.

Duration
24 months from 01/10/2019 to 30/09/2021

General aims

Funded by
PSR 2014-2020 Regione Emilia Romagna – Mis. 16.
Fondo FEASR

General objectives
The project aims to identify suitable area for the recovery and maintenance of the traditional chestnut fruit stands and to assess the ecological footprints associated to the recovery, in terms of C sink and stock in the soil-tree system, water use and land cover.

CMCC role
Scientific evaluation of data acquired through a IoT system “TreeTalker”

Activities
The activities of the project include: (i) disseminate methodologies for land suitability analysis for the identification of areas potentially suited for the recovery of the traditional chestnut fruit stands; (ii) apply smart and low-cost technologies to monitor the environmental impact, including in terms of C cycle, for the recovery of chestnut fruit stands; (iii) apply the same methodologies to monitor the response of the chestnut stands to climate change.

Expected results

  • a widespread and low cost methodology to assess the functionality and growth of chestnuts, practically applicable by chestnut growers also for monitoring the state of health in response to filed interventions and environmental changes;
  • the methodology for monitoring the effects of various methods of recovery of the chestnut fruit stands and for the assessment of the ecological footprint of these interventions (C sink and stock, use of water, land cover …);
  • the Land Suitability GIS methodology for the identification of micro-areas (<500 m2) suitable for the recovery of the traditional chestnut fruit stands in the context of a forest matrix (Art. 30 Emilia-Romagna forest regulation);
  • demonstrate to citizens the applied methodologies with the purpose of raising awareness on the specific environmental issues described as part of the already existing didactic chestnut stand in Alto Reno Terme;
  • training of chestnut growers to the use of the described methodologies through technical-practical training courses to be implemented in three Provinces of the Region.

Partners

  • Open Fields srl (Coordinator)
  • Cooperativa di lavoro e servizio per lo sviluppo agro-silvopastorale e per lo sviluppo agroturistico VAL RENO soc.coop.va a responsabilità limitata
  • Università di bologna, dipartimento di scienze e tecnologie alimentari DISTAL
  • Centoform srl
  • Comune di Alto Reno Terme

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