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Forests 2017, 8(6), 187; doi:10.3390/f8060187

Living and Dead Aboveground Biomass in Mediterranean Forests: Evidence of Old-Growth Traits in a Quercus pubescens Willd. s.l. Stand

Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze Ed. 4, I-90128 Palermo, Italy
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Academic Editors: Phillip G. Comeau and Timothy A. Martin
Received: 12 April 2017 / Revised: 11 May 2017 / Accepted: 20 May 2017 / Published: 30 May 2017
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Abstract

For a long time, human impact has deeply simplified most of the forest ecosystems of the Mediterranean Basin. Here, forests have seldom had the chance to naturally develop a complex and multilayered structure, to host large and old trees and rich biological communities, approaching old-growth conditions. Also for this reason, limited information is currently available about Mediterranean old-growth forests, particularly with regard to deadwood. The main aim of this work is to help fill this critical knowledge gap. In Sicily (Italy), we identified a Quercus pubescens forest that seemed to show some typical old-growth features. Total living volume (360 m3 ha−1) and basal area (34 m2 ha−1) were, respectively, about 6 and 3 times higher than the averages recorded in the regional forest inventory for this forest type. Deadwood was particularly abundant, exceeding the threshold of 30 m3 ha−1, mainly represented by lying dead elements. Dead to live wood ratio reached 9%, a value close to the threshold of 10% considered for Mediterranean old-growth forests. As the investigated forest showed some typical old-growth traits, it deserves to be fully protected and could be a permanent monitoring area for studying deadwood and stand dynamics in mature Mediterranean stands. View Full-Text
Keywords: mature forests; deadwood; downy oak; Quercus ilex; Acer campestre mature forests; deadwood; downy oak; Quercus ilex; Acer campestre
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MDPI and ACS Style

Badalamenti, E.; La Mantia, T.; La Mantia, G.; Cairone, A.; La Mela Veca, D.S. Living and Dead Aboveground Biomass in Mediterranean Forests: Evidence of Old-Growth Traits in a Quercus pubescens Willd. s.l. Stand. Forests 2017, 8, 187.

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