78266 - Sylvicolture and Forest Management

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Clean water and sanitation Sustainable cities Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

During this course the student will: - learn about mechanisms underlying functioning and productivity of forest ecosystems; - gain the knowledge needed to describe a forest stand and its main features, so to improve its stability and functioning in relation to most updated regulation in Italy. Specifically, the student will get familiar with  main silvicultural approaches used in Italy and how they can be used to manage forest in a sustainable way, but also to restore degraded areas. 

Course contents

Requirements:students should have adequate background knowledge in botanic, plant  biology and diversity (with particular reference to tree species), ecology and soil chemistry.


Part 1. Forest ecology 

  • Tree, forest ecosystem and landscape: definition and main attributes.
  • Forest types in relation to climate: how forests changed over time (with particular reference to post-glacial recolonisation), main biomes at the global scale, main vegetation belts in Italy and in Emilia Romagna.
  • Forest stand growth dynamics.
  • Forest productivity.
  • Elements cycling in forest ecosystems (carbon, water and nitrogen cycling).
  • Forests and ecosystem services provided.
  • Climate and land-use changes.
  • Forests in the Sustainable Development goals adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015 and the European Green Deal and the Forest national strategy.
  • Urban forest: definition and relevance to achieve SDGs

Part 2. Silviculture and forest management

  • What's silviculture? Definition and goals.
  • Main silvicultural systems: high forest.
  • Thinning practices in high forest; Tree-oriented silviculture.
  • Main silvicultural systems: coppice.
  • Coppice conversion to high forest.
  • Tree plantation for wood production.
  • New challenges of silviculture: managing forests to increase adaptation and resilience to disturbances and global changes.
  • Example of forest management practices for the main forest types in Italy, including reforestation.
  • Forest stand description and basics of dendrometry and tree measurements in the field.


Lecture slides and additional materials (such as scientific papers/ reports) will be shared through Virtuale.

Recommended Textbooks

Paci M. 2011. Ecologia forestale. Elementi di conoscenza dei sistemi forestali applicati alla selvicoltura

Piussi P., Alberti G. 2015. Selvicoltura generale. Boschi, società e tecniche colturali. Ed. Compagnia delle Foreste, Arezzo

Additional resources:

Bernetti G 2005: Atlante di Selvicoltura. Ed. il Sole 24 Ore Edagricole, Bologna.

Del Favero R., Lingua E, Pividori M. 2019. Selvicoltura per la protezione dei disturbi. Compagnia delle Foreste S.r.l.

Ciancio O., Nocentini S. (2003). IL Bosco ceduo. Selvicoltura Assestamento Gestione. Accademia Italiana di Scienze Forestali (disponibile sul sito dell'Accademia Italiana di Scienze Forestali).

Muzzi E. e Rossi G. (eds) 2004. Il recupero e la riqualificazione ambientale delle cave in Emilia Romagna. Regione Emilia Romagna (http://ambiente.regione.emilia-romagna/suolo-bacino/sezioni/pubblicazioni/servizio-difesa-del-suolo-della-costa-e-bonifica/pdf/manuale_cave_1.pdf

Teaching methods

The course combines lectures with power-point presentations (for the majority of the hours) and excursions. There will be a series of seminars from forest management experts and researchers on specific topics. The use of mobile app (Kahoots, wooclap) in the class and active discussion during seminars will foster interaction between students and teacher (e.g., brainstorming and discussion on specific case studies).


Assessment methods

The final exam will include an oral presentation and written test. 

Oral presentations (40% of the total score): the students will be divided in groups and will prepare a power-point presentation on one of the main topics included in the Forest ecology part.

Written test (60% of the total score): a questionnaire of 15 questions regarding part 2 of the programme (Silviculture and forest management).

Fore more details, please get in touch with the teacher. 

Teaching tools

All the material will be shared through the Virtuale platform

Office hours

See the website of Maria Rosa Guerrieri