iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Technical properties of beech wood from aged coppices in central Italy

Angela Lo Monaco (1)   , Luca Calienno (1), Claudia Pelosi (2), Federica Balletti (1), Giorgia Agresti (2), Rodolfo Picchio (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 1, Pages 82-88 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1136-007
Published: Jun 04, 2014 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Technical Advances

The aim of this study is to assess the features of timber from aged coppices in transition to high forests to provide a basis for their more efficient utilisation. The introduction of a territorial protection policy and improvements in the socio-economic conditions of people living in mountain areas have led to a transition towards less intensive use of forests, which has resulted in the conversion of beech coppices into transitional high forests. The suspension of cutting has produced so-called “aged coppices”, now at the stage of thinning. In this condition, high-quality timber is difficult to obtain and the wood supply is highly variable, making efficient processing during manufacture difficult. To investigate features of the timber, clear specimens from two sites, Prati di San Bartolomeo and Fontenova, were analysed. Physical and mechanical characteristics were as follows: dry density, 719 and 688 kg m-3; basic density, 585 and 560 kg m-3; radial shrinkage, 7.06 and 7.17%; tangential shrinkage, 12.43 and 11.72%; volumetric shrinkage, 19.05 and 18.51%; axial compression strength, 54.7 and 54.4 MPa; static bending strengths, 100.9 and 108.4 MPa; and Brinell hardness, 29.8 and 27.7 N mm-2. Wood colour was also measured, as it is an important parameter for the end users. It was assessed with the CIELAB system. The wood colour coordinates before ageing exhibited the following values: L*=82.06, a*=4.92, and b*=17.36. After 504 hours of light exposure, wood became darker (L* =68.99) and more yellow (a*=9.49; b*= 29.57). The results of this study highlight that beech wood from aged coppice in Central Italy shows interesting qualitative features, suggesting that it can be put to more profitable use than as firewood.


Coppice in Transition, Density, Shrinkage, Mechanical Properties, Brinell Hardness, Wood Colour, Fagus sylvatica L., Central Italy

Authors’ address

Angela Lo Monaco
Luca Calienno
Federica Balletti
Rodolfo Picchio
Department of science and technology for Agriculture, Forests, Nature and Energy, University of Tuscia, I-01100 Viterbo (Italy)
Claudia Pelosi
Giorgia Agresti
Department of Cultural Heritage Sciences, University of Tuscia , I-01100 Viterbo (Italy)

Corresponding author

Angela Lo Monaco


Lo Monaco A, Calienno L, Pelosi C, Balletti F, Agresti G, Picchio R (2015). Technical properties of beech wood from aged coppices in central Italy. iForest 8: 82-88. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1136-007

Academic Editor

Giorgio Matteucci

Paper history

Received: Sep 23, 2013
Accepted: Feb 15, 2014

First online: Jun 04, 2014
Publication Date: Feb 02, 2015
Publication Time: 3.63 months

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