The Forestry Research Centre originates in 1922 as Royal Experimental Station of Silviculture joined to the chair of the Royal Institution for Upper Education in Forestry of Florence. Aldo Pavari, eminent scientist and teacher at the University of Florence was the first director from 1922 up to his death in 1960. The direction was then held by Ernesto Allegri, distinguished forest botanist up to 1972. The Experimental Station was rearranged into Experimental Institution for Silviculture with head offices in Arezzo and local branches in Florence, Isernia and Cosenza by law enforcement in 1967. From 1972 up to 1995 the position of director was held by Riccardo Morandini, who defined new goals and reformed both inner structure and research programme, renewing the experimental approach to forest sciences. From 1995 to 2004 the director in charge was Augusto Tocci. Since 1999, the Experimental Institution for Silviculture became the Forestry Research Centre, following the reform of former Research Institutions under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture into Agricultural Research Council (C.R.A.). Since 2014 the Centre manages the Experimental Station of San Pietro Avellana (Appenine Forestry Research Units). Current director is Piermaria Corona (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Forestry Research Centre deals with sustainable forest management, forest genetics and agro-forestry systems. Main fields of activity are the enhancement of wood and non-wood productions, forest ecology and stand dynamics, improvement and breeding of forest genetic resources. A special reference is made to the maintenance and enhancement of forests’ multifunctional role, biodiversity, adaptation to global change and mitigation ability.
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.