In Cremona, in one of the Cremona Musica stands, I meet Giuliano Zugliani, Forest Inspector and commander of the Paneveggio State Forest, in the Autonomous Province of Trento. Behind him, beautiful photos of trees and mountains. I introduce myself and then ask him for some information on the characteristics of this very special forest. He gladly answers my questions.
First of all, where is the Paneveggio Forest located, and what are its characteristics?
The Paneveggio Forest, also known as the “Foresta dei violini”, is located in Trentino at the foot of the Pale di San Martino. The Forest extends for 5000 hectares, 3000 hectares of which are wood. The remaining territory is occupied by pastures, alpine tundra and rocky walls of the mountains that surround it. The Forest is composed entirely of conifers, with more than 90% of spruce and the remaining 10% of larch and pine. From an altimetric point of view, the Forest develops between 1500 and 2000 meters of altitude, so it is considered a subalpine forest and, given its continental type climate, here the spruce, which dominates in an unchallenged way, finds its best climatic conditions. Us foresters manage the forest following the criteria dictated by naturalistic forestry. The choice of trees to be cut is made by trying to favor mainly natural renewal, favoring the growth of plants with better genetic characteristics and creating a forest structure as diversified as possible, with groups of plants of different ages and, where possible, a mixture between different species.
The “older” trees also reach 200/250 years, and they are the great-grandparents of the forest, but next to them there are the grandparent trees, adults, young people, adolescents, children, and babies. Exactly as it happens in a family. There is the tree that was born in a particularly “happy” position, which grows straight and strong and lives very long, and the one that has had the misfortune of being born from a seed that has slipped between two rocks, which grows exposed to the winds and bringing in its twisted trunk the signs of the hard struggle it has fought to survive, but in a stable forest ecosystem and in ecological balance both plants are important. The functions of the forest are the most disparate and not only the economic ones, ranging from soil protection, to the recreational landscape function to that of giving us oxygen and fixing carbon dioxide and, not least, the cultural one: more and more in the wood becomes culture, through guided tours, conferences, and in recent years also concerts, to highlight one of the outstanding products of this Forest, resonant spruce wood.
But then does the forest not only have an economic function? It is, therefore, similar to a large family of trees, where life takes place as in a community; do adult trees protect help and defend smaller ones? [To be continued⇒]