Isabella DE MEOa and Alessandro PALETTOb
Institution: aCentre for Agriculture and Environment – Italy; bCouncil for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA) – Italy
Keywords: Forest Planning, Peri-Urban Forests, Ecosystem Services, Forests Visitors, Monte Morello – Italy
In Central-Southern Italy, the traditional strategy for reforesting degraded lands was first to plant fast-growing pioneer species assuming that these species would facilitate the introduction of late-successional broadleaved species. In many cases, this strategy has failed and these stands can be considered simplified and fragile ecosystems characterized by a low level of biodiversity.
In the light of SFM, new forest planning processes and silvicultural treatments must be defined to guide natural evolution to more complex and stable forests incorporating forest ecosystem services (FES) assessment.
In post-modern society, people perceive forests as resources capable of providing clear air, leisure facilities, recreational and sports opportunities and decision-makers are becoming aware of the value of FES for the well-being of the residents.
In this framework, the present study is aimed to increase citizens’ awareness of the value of FES; to elicit visitors’ expectations about the forest ecosystem services provided by artificial black pine forests, and to gather suggestions toward the future forest planning strategies and their effects on FES provision.
The study area is the peri-urban forest of Monte Morello located near the urban area of Florence. This forest is the result of the reforestations activities realized in early decades of the twentieth century. Currently it is a simplified, unstable and fragile ecosystem, characterized by poor regeneration, huge quantity of deadwood and a high degree of flammability. On the other hand, the forest represents the green lung of the town and an important resource for recreational activities.
In 2016, 201 visitors of the forest have been involved in a survey aimed to investigate their preferences and opinions with a questions-information approach. While explaining the planning strategies and silvicultural interventions realized in the forest, respondents were asked to assign their aesthetic-visual preferences to the forest stands after different silvicultural treatments using a set of photos. Furthermore, visitors assessed the importance of seven different FES provided by Monte Morello using a 5-point Likert scale format.
Results show that recreational activities and air quality are considered the most important FES provided by Monte Morello forest. Furthermore people appreciate the forest managed through silvicultural treatments aimed to increase forest stability and natural regeneration processes.