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Exotic trees: from research to management in Alpine territories

The digital workshop with 100 industry experts is starting

Robinia, ailanthus, American maple, late cherry, Douglas fir, hybrid poplar and Siberian elm are just some of the approximately 100 species of non-native trees found in Italy. Introduced for ornamental purposes, these exotic species are mostly used also in Trentino, in the urban and periurban context because they adapt better to city environments, but they can cause ecological problems because these plants compete and often dominate the indigenous species, significantly transforming the balance of forest ecosystems. The expected benefits and potential risks associated with the presence of non-native trees in European geographic regions are the subject of an international workshop coordinated by the Edmund Mach foundation as part of the Alptrees project, which involves the municipality of Trento as a partner and the "observer" forest service of the Autonomous Province of Trento. The event will take place in digital format on 25 and 26 February in the presence of over one hundred researchers and experts from the Alpine area.

Alptrees is a project coordinated by the Forest Research Institute, Natural Hazards Landscape of Vienna, and its goal is to provide a transnational strategy for a decision support system on the responsible use and management of non-native trees. In fact, it fits into the context of national and regional policies that aim to protect and improve biodiversity, ensure ecological connectivity and cultural resources while maintaining a high level of resilience and ecosystem services across the Alpine space. Alongside the French, German, Austrian and Slovenian institutional partners, Italy is represented by the Edmund Mach foundation, which coordinates the project's "Policy implementation, stakeholder engagement & capacity building" workpackage, and by the municipality of Trento and the Langhe Monferrato consortium and Roero.

"The potential advantages deriving from the presence of alien tree species include adaptation to climate change, contributions to the bioeconomy and to the urban and periurban landscape, the creation of green infrastructures and the mitigation of natural hazards", explains Nicola La Porta researcher of the center research and innovation and project manager at Fem. "The possible risks associated with their presence, on the other hand, concern the invasiveness and competitive effects on native trees and therefore the potential threats to biodiversity. The problems that these plants could cause, apart from some allergenic pollen or leaves, are mainly ecological”.

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EFA News - European Food Agency