TIMBER/WOOD PLANTATIONS AND AGROFORESTRY
Session Coordinators: Gianni FACCIOTTO (Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria -CREA), Gianfranco MINOTTA (Università di Torino), Andrea TANI (Università di Firenze)
Globally, planted forests cover an area of approximately 290 million hectares (FAO-FRA, 2015), which is almost 8% of natural forests. In Europe these stands amount to about 83 million hectares, while in Italy timber/wood plantations cover little more than 122,000 ha (INFC, 2005), more than half of which consists of artificial poplar stands. In the industrialized countries of the temperate range, forest plantations are an important and sustainable source of wood products (industrial roundwood and energy wood) and, at the same time, are elements that contribute effectively to the improvement and preservation of the environmental values of the rural areas. Forest plantations are estimated to allow a reduction in natural forest harvesting by 26%. Also the agroforestry systems, in addition to offering ecosystem services and contributing to “greening” (EFA), can provide sustainable wood productions by associating forest trees with agricultural crops or pasture. In addition, the agroforestry is part of the system of the TOF (Trees Outside Forests) recognized by FAO. The market of wood products shows strong dynamics, linked to economic and social trends in the major countries producing this raw material and to the international environmental directives involving the forest sector. In the face of a possible drop in imports, there are concrete opportunities for an expansion of the national wood productions derived from the “outside forest”. The session will host contributions regarding the implementation of timber/wood plantations and agroforestry by improving planting material, optimizing crop systems, evaluating wood productions and ecosystem services provided by plantations and their valorization through, marketing actions and innovative policies.