Summacop - Sustainable and multifunctional management of Umbria coppices

LIFE99 ENV/IT/000003

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Francesco GROHMANN
Tel: +39 075 5041
Fax: 39 075 504 5565
Email: agriforeste@regione.umbriait

Project description:


Over 60% of the forests in Italy and about 30% of the forests in Europe are managed using the coppice system, a woodland management system for non-coniferous forests. The coppice differs from high forests in how it is regenerated following harvesting: Coppice regeneration is mainly through asexual reproduction, thus exploiting the capacity of certain forest species to generate sprouts (suckers) at the base of the trunk (stump) once it is cut. High forest (or seedling forests), regeneration takes place mainly by sexual reproduction or, in other words, it takes place through new plants that sprout from seeds. In the Umbria region, coppices (often with deciduous oaks) represent approximately 85% of the region’s wooded area and this has acted as a powerful reason for promoting a demonstration project on this subject. Coppicing, which has been practised in Europe for centuries, has several limitations: Simplification of forest ecosystems (species with a low stump sprouting ability tend to disappear and the forest structure is simplified); production of low-value timber products (almost exclusively firewood, fencing and chips); limited tourism-recreational value (given the small size of the plants present and the greater difficulty in walking in the woods); drastic and frequent changes from a landscape and environmental standpoint (following harvesting); less efficient soil protection. Alternative methods in coppice management which create a more complex and heterogeneous ecosystem and improve the different functional aspects (production, soil protection, landscape) are needed. Various forestry methods “close to nature” have been used to manage seedling forests in an alpine environment, however none have been applied to the coppice system.


Considering the economic importance of woodland activities for the residents of mountainous and disadvantaged areas, the goal set by the Sustainable and multifunctional management of Umbria coppices - SUMMACOP – project, was to verify the possibility of valorizing the woods that are currently coppiced through “new” intervention techniques that could be used as a potential alternative to traditional ones when the ecological and economic conditions allow to do so. The specific objectives of the project were: - to conduct demonstration work on property owned by the regional government, covering a total survey area of about 180 hectares subdivided into four territorial areas; - to verify the methods that have been proposed, evaluating their efficiency in terms of wood production, soil protection, regeneration intensity and quality, the economic validity of the interventions, specific composition, and the effect on the landscape; - to divulge the methods that have been developed to public and private operators, particularly with regard to mountain communities and companies that exploit woodland resources.


The environmental problem addressed by the project, managing coppices in keeping with sustainable and ecological criteria without reducing the economic aspects, and the proposed solutions have met great interest among public and private operators in the sector. A number of regional administrations, park administrations and private forestry owners have expressed their intention to adopt the SUMMACOP methodology. The methodology is being adopted as part of the regional legislation of the Marche (D.G.R. 2585 of 21/11/01) and Umbria Regions (D.G.R. 1622/02). The activities carried out in the four demonstration areas have also raised great interest among private operators. The demonstration activities proposed forms of treatment that were differentiated across small areas. Within these areas, intervention was gauged based on the area’s ecological and structural characteristics, also considering the specific setting and the possible economic valorisation of the present valuable wood species. The realisation of interventions in the demonstration areas proved that it was possible to change the traditional coppice management, while guaranteeing the productive aspects. The silvicultural interventions adopted were a combination of coppicing with groups of standards, conversion to high forest, coppicing on small areas, suspension of interventions, thinning (which was carried out on a selective basis and enabled the growth of hardwood trees which have a valuable production potential or in areas intended for tourism, educational and recreational use, in order to ensure people's safety). The phytosociological survey indicated that the application of coppicing with groups of standards and on small areas can create conditions for the diversification of wood species. Increasing the vegetation strata has positive effects on fauna, by increasing the available habitats. The visual impact on the landscape is also lower than in traditional coppicing. With regard to the economic aspects, the project demonstrated that the implementation of diversified interventions for coppice improvement was convenient and economicaly feasible for wood cutting operators in the context of land improvement. The potential for reproducing and transfering the SUMMACOOP methodology is high, its new approach to coppice management could be extended and reproduced in similar areas across Europe. . In May 2005, a follow-up ex-post evaluation of the project was carried out by the LIFE external monitoring team. This showed, among others, that the beneficiary participated with former partner, the University of Perugia, in an Interreg IIIB Medoc project on structure and cooperation activities in Mediterranean forests (the beneficiary here is the Vesuvio National Park). This new project took into account the methodology and findings of SUMMACOP. Negotiations are also in progress with the University of Florence for studies to be carried out in the project area e.g., a project is currently underway on harvesting techniques in pine-forest thinning. The SUMMACOP results have been widely disseminated in Italy, at trade fairs, seminars and conferences. Moreover, the methodology is referred to in the influential scientific textbook: “Il Bosco Ceduo” (by Ciancio and Nocentini). Other successes include promising moves towards the adoption of the methodology in forest management legislation and/or regulations in Italian regions. These include: amendments to the Tuscany Regional Forestry Regulation (48/R of 2003); and the proposed adoption of the use of group of standards as a better guarantee for the conservation of biodiversity (DGR 139 of 2005 – Umbria Region).


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Forests
Land-use & Planning - Forest management


biodiversity‚  landscape protection‚  forest management‚  mountainous area‚  environmental law‚  mixed use area

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • Decision 93/626 - Conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity (25.10.1993)
  • COM(98)42 -"Communication on a European Community Biodiversity Strategy" (05.02.1998)
  • COM(2001)162 -"Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation of natural resources (vol. I & II)" ...
  • Land & Soil
  • Regulation 2078/92 - Agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements of the prot ...
  • Regulation 2080/92 - Community aid scheme for forestry measures in agriculture (30.06.1992)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Regione Umbria - Assessorato Agricoltura e Foreste
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The Beneficiary is the Directorate for the Management of Forests within the Regional Authority of Umbria (Central Italy).
Partners Institute of Experimental Forestry - Arezzo, Italy University of Florence, Italy University of Perugia, Italy Mountain Community of Alto Chiascio - Gubbio PG, Italy Mountain Community of Monte Peglia and Selva di Meana - S. Venazo PG, Italy Mountain Community of Subasio - Valtopina PG, Italy Mountain Community of Valnerina - Norcia PG, Italy


Project reference LIFE99 ENV/IT/000003
Duration 29-MAR-2000 to 29-SEP -2002
Total budget 426,696.69 €
EU contribution 208,700.23 €
Project location Umbria(Italia)


Read more:

CD-ROM Title: I boschi dell'Umbria: un patrimonio da conocere e valorizzare.
Project web site Summacop - Sustainale and nulti-functin coppice management in Umbria (in Ialian, English and French).
Publication: Article-Paper La matricinatura per gruppi. L’esperienza del prog ...
Publication: Article-Paper Innovazione e gestione dei boschi ceduil. Il proge ...
Publication: Article-Paper Il ceduo è prima di tutto un bosco. (54 KB)
Publication: Case study Un progetto dimostrativo per la gestione dei bosch ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Gestione sostenibile e multifunzionale dei boschi ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version