Talking Chestnuts

New techniques for monitoring the carbon balance and the state of health of wood and fruit chestnut trees – Talking Chestnuts

The two-year project Talking Chestnuts involves Open Fields as coordinator, Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna (DISTAL), Fondazione Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, Cooperativa di lavoro e servizio per lo sviluppo agro-silvo-pastorale e per lo sviluppo agrituristico Val Reno s.c.a.r.l, the Municipality of Alto Reno Terme (Bologna, Italy) and Centoform (training organization).

The project aims to assess the ecological footprint of chestnut restoration to fruit cultivation within a forest matrix, in terms of carbon fixation and sequestration in the soil-plant system, water use and land cover. Overall, the innovation plan objective is to obtain operational indications for an effective and sustainable chestnut forest management for combined wood and fruit production.

During the two years of experimentation, the study group will develop a widespread and low-cost methodology for the monitoring of development and functionality of plants, practically applicable by chestnut growers also for monitoring health status in response to interventions and environmental variations, whose results can also be disseminated at the level of citizenship for to foster awareness of important environmental issues.

Moreover, an innovative methodology will be implemented for the monitoring of the effects of different methods of recovery of chestnut groves into a cultivation state culture, and to assess the ecological footprint of such interventions (fixation and sequestration of C, use of water, coverage of the soil…).

Finally, the refinement of the GIS methodology of Land Suitability will be used for the identification of micro-areas (<500 square meters) suited to the recovery of topical cultivation, in the context of a forest matrix (Art. 30 Forest Regulation Emilia-Romagna).

These innovative techniques will allow chestnut growers to monitor the state of health of wood and fruit trees and their response to cultural interventions and global change (climate, infestation of alien species, …) in a perspective of precision agriculture in the mountain environment.

ROLE: Coordinator

TIMING: 2019-2021

CALL: PSR (MISURA 16.1.01)

BUDGET: euro 191,848.72

Project supported by: