Forest@ (Jan 2004)

The silver fir in the Val Grande National Park: distribution, structures and dynamics

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 1, no. 1
pp. 25 – 36


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The Val Grande National Park, designated in 1992, is considered to be the largest wilderness area in the European Alps. The aim of the present study was to determine the distribution of silver fir (Abies alba Mill.) within the Val Grande National Park and to analyse structure, natural and human disturbances and dynamics in an intensive monitoring plot located on Monte Mottac. Results showed that silver fir distribution in the stand is discontinuous and limited to the northern sector. Most silver fir grows in mixed populations with beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and, to a lesser extent, with Norway spruce (Picea Abies (L.) Karts.) and other broadleaves. The stand studied was found to be uneven-aged with some individuals older than 150 years and many below 60 years. Analysis of abrupt growth releases allowed the detection of two cuts that took place in the 20th century, the latter of which was conducted at the beginning of the 50s. The results show that although human influence is still evident, in the last decades natural dynamics have become the predominant influence in the forest's structures and processes.