The problematics of coppice conversion to high forest;Quercus pyrenaica Willd. forest management at a turning point


Abstract: Quercus pyrenaica Willd. is widely distributed in siliceous sub-Mediterraneanmountains from south-western France to northern Morocco. The species presents a high resproutingcapability, mainly from the whole root system, which has determined the intensecoppice management to which the species have been historically subjected. Nowadays, a greatnumber of traditionally-managed coppices have been abandoned and the need to find out newuses for these stands has been widely recognized. The conversion of coppice to high forests is anaccepted recommendation by managers on the bases of productivity and environmental services.Notwithstanding, stand coppice degradation and the scanty of acorn production have hinderedattempts to coppice conversion by thinning. In this framework, much more scientific knowledgeon the ecological, physiological and genetic factors modulating the natural regeneration processesof coppice systems is needed. The present work aims to describe the preliminary results of twoongoing research projects focused on the genetic characterization of clonal structure and thedifferent factors limiting the natural regeneration of these woods. It also attempts to highlight theimportance of multidisciplinary perspectives to successfully face the big challenges of forestmanagement conversion and changes in the use of the land that are taking place in Mediterraneanecosystems.

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