iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Effects of mixture and management on growth dynamics and responses to climate of Quercus robur L. in a restored opencast lignite mine

Maria Chiara Manetti, Gianluigi Mazza   , Leonardo Papini, Francesco Pelleri

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 15, Issue 5, Pages 391-400 (2022)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor4108-015
Published: Oct 05, 2022 - Copyright © 2022 SISEF

Research Articles

Opencast mining is currently one of the most destructive economic activities of natural ecosystems. Many restoration techniques have been developed to promote the recovery of terrestrial ecosystems degraded by mining, and afforestation and reforestation are among the most important methods to this purpose. In this study, we evaluated the combined effect of tree species mixture and thinning intervention on growth dynamics and responses to the climate of a target native planted oak (pedunculate oak, Quercus robur L.) about 40 years after reforestation of an opencast lignite mining area in Central Italy. The species used for reforestation were a native tree species (Q. robur L.), two valuable broadleaved trees (Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl. and Prunus avium L.) and a nitrogen-fixing tree (Alnus cordata Loisel.) to improve timber quality and restore the ecological and environmental value of the degraded land. Climate-growth relationships for precipitation, the Standardised Precipitation-Evaporation Index (SPEI), and temperature (on a monthly and seasonal scale) were tested together with indices based on tree-ring responses to drought. Thinning improved the stem quality and promoted a significant long-term increase in basal area increment (BAI, +31.0%) only in the mixture with alder. The thinning effect slightly mitigated radial growth reductions of oak trees during drought (resistance) and produced a general improvement in the magnitude of resilience and post-drought growth recovery (+37% and +27% on average, respectively). This effect was most evident when oak trees were mixed with only the N-fixing alder species, both after shorter- and longer-term drought or rainfall reduction. In conclusion, the mixture with alder combined with thinning practices resulted in the best management option to produce good-quality stems, improve growth performances, and mitigate drought effects in the recovery of opencast lignite mines through reforestation.


Mixed Plantation, Tree Rings, Basal Area Increment, Mine Restoration, N-fixing Species, Linear Mixed Models, Pedunculate Oak

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Gianluigi Mazza


Manetti MC, Mazza G, Papini L, Pelleri F (2022). Effects of mixture and management on growth dynamics and responses to climate of Quercus robur L. in a restored opencast lignite mine. iForest 15: 391-400. - doi: 10.3832/ifor4108-015

Paper history

Received: Apr 01, 2022
Accepted: Jul 27, 2022

First online: Oct 05, 2022
Publication Date: Oct 31, 2022
Publication Time: 2.33 months

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