One action envisaged by "The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020" is integrating
biodiversity measures by maintaining optimal levels of deadwood in forests.
Currently, the discussion and scientific research on optimal levels of deadwood for
conservation are still ongoing.
The concept of conservation of deadwood is
today widely accepted. For example, the European Union considers deadwood a "proxy"
of forest biodiversity, as is evident from technical documents. For example, research
has shown that about 30% of the species present in temperate forests are dependent on
deadwood; particularly important are large, old trees, because they are rich in
micro-habitats and often contain cavities. It is planned to strengthen the
conservation of deadwood in the reserves managed by the Comando Unità per la Tutela
Forestale, Ambientale e Agroalimentare (Command Unit for the Protection of Forests,
Environment and Food) of the Carabinieri. A renowned example for a forest already
rich in dead wood is the reserve "Sasso Fratino", an ancient beech forests, recently
recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Another example is the reserve
Bosco Fontana, well-known to the international scientific community and to Europe's
forest managers for pioneering deadwood restoration techniques.
Centre for Forest Biodiversity Carabinieri "Bosco Fontana" has been working on the
conservation of dead wood habitats, also by carrying out concrete actions, for the
last 15 years. Two Life projects are indicative for the approaches followed. “Bosco
Fontana - urgent conservation actions in relict habitat” (LIFE99 NAT/IT/006245)
lasted from 1999 to 2003. More recently, the project “Monitoring of Insects with
Public Participation” (MIPP, 2012-2017) developed methods for the monitoring of five
saproxylic beetles, also employing "Citizen Science", which meant actively engaging
citizens for recording protected insects in Italy.
The results of the MIPP
project, were presented during a "European Workshop", held in Mantua in May 2017 and
in the “guidelines” presented in a special issue for forest managers. This work is
well integrated with the manuals published by the Italian National Institute for
Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), and serve to evaluate the conservation
status of species listed in the Habitats Directive (Art. 11 and 17 HD 92/43/CEE). In
the guidelines, new technologies, offered by the internet, have been employed to make
this publication well known: e-books, hypertext and indexing in the major
international platforms. This effort was made to reach the maximum number of managers
of sites of the European Network "Natura 2000".
I hope that this manual will
provide a useful tool for the work of reserve managers; it is the result of five
years of work by the National Centre for Forest Biodiversity Carabinieri "Bosco
Fontana" in collaboration with Sapienza – University of Rome, University Roma Tre,
Italian Ministry for the Environment, Region Lombardy and the Council for
Agricultural Research and Economics – Research Centre for Plant Protection and
Generale di Corpo
Comandante Unità Tutela Forestale Ambientale Agroalimentare
Rome, August 2017