Coppice forests, Serbia
As a special contribution to biodiversity, SUPERB will help re-establish and diversify managed coppice forests in Serbia. This management system is engrained in cultural tradition and offers habitats to many wildlife species due to its structural and tree diversity. Restoration will take place in forests across several locations surrounded by agricultural lands, monasteries, and historical sites in Serbia.
About the demo
As Serbia’s coppice forests were formed after clear-cuts during and after the Second World War, many of the areas are at the final stage of degradation. For instance, degraded oak coppice forests in Kraljevo, in central Serbia, show a lack of organic material and regeneration which results from degraded soil.
Effects of degraded soil are also visible in low timber quality – timber is mainly used for firewood and has low resistance to pests and diseases. Moreover, some of the forests in the central-south part of Serbia are also under pressure from illegal logging. Overall, the state of these forests hinders the further development of their social-economic potential.
Promoting natural regeneration
Type of restoration:
We will foster indirect conversion of mature coppice stands by supporting natural regeneration. This approach is mainly based on fertilisation cutting with a short recovery period, followed by the removal of the existing parent stand to ensure uninterrupted conditions for natural regeneration. In cases where natural regeneration is failing, we will perform reforestation with direct seeding and seed planting.
How the demo is now:
Coppice forests are relatively neglected in terms of silviculture. This led to the creation of stands with many trees per hectare, small canopies, small distribution of diameters, small-medium stand diameter, etc. Part of the coppice forests is characterized by a very unfavorable stand condition: a large share of stands of broken structure and weedy areas, and unsatisfactory health conditions. Pure coppice stands of beech and oak in Serbia occupy significant areas. Some additional problems of coppice forests are excessive logging (private forests), inadequate use of site potential, unfavorable thickness structure, and a large share of devastated stands. Furthermore, we are facing an unfavorable age structure (mostly between 50 and 100 years), poor potential assortment structure, significantly reduced economic effects, forest fires, and an increase of areas with invasive species.
We aim at restoring ecosystem functions by breaking the age, canopy and vertical structure of coppice forests. Our plan is to first choose the most degraded site and then identify reference sites nearby through projections of how they should or could look like in the future.
Restoration upscaling potential (within and beyond SUPERB):
There is potential to restore up to 50.000 ha by 2030 and 300.000 ha by 2040 of preserved coppice forests in suitable sites. In the long term, restoration of over 1 million hectares could be achieved.