Po Valley, Italy
Our demonstration area in Italy is located in the Po Valley, one of the country’s most important economic regions and major geographic features, extending from the Western Alps to the Adriatic Sea. SUPERB will restore ca. 10 hectares in the administrative area of Lombardia, where agricultural and urban development led to forest reduction and fragmentation.
About the demo
Over 20 municipalities in the region, including Milan, the capital of Lombardia, have joined forces to boost local ecosystem services by planting new native mixed forests in the area. The role of SUPERB is to create forests resilient to future climate scenarios while improving their spatial design, both at the stand and landscape levels, to enhance forest connectivity. This will help mitigate the heat island effect in urban and peri-urban environments, absorb air pollution, control water runoff, and provide natural spaces for recreation.
Among the areas covered by the project is the Parco Nord Milano. Once completely degraded after being used as an airport during the Second World War, the park now holds important value for biodiversity, offering habitat to over 100 species of trees, shrubs and ornamental plants.
Enhancing forest connectivity
Starting with 10 ha, upscaling target of 150 ha
Type of restoration:
We will be planting permanent-cover mixed-species forests with English oak, common hornbeam, poplar, and accessory species such as ash-maple after seed and origin selection. This will also involve soil preparation and spatial planning to increase ecological connectivity.
How the demo is now:
Biodiversity is under high pressure from agriculture. Our aim is to introduce biodiverse-rich small patches of forest in the highly monocultural landscape and to improve permeable surfaces by de-sealing the soils while enhancing ecological connectivity by planting trees, bushes and hedges.
We envision permanent cover oak-hornbeam bottomland mixed forests, spatially connected to existing forest areas. The forests can be managed for quality wood but primary ecosystem services will be biodiversity provision, water retention, recreation and reduced air pollution, helping to reduce the heat island effect. Forest cover should be over 30% in 2030 and over 60% in 2040.
SUPERB researchers Niels Strange from University of Copenhagen and Joseph William Bull from Kent University have recently contributed to the “Correspondence” section in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, elaborating…
The ThinkForest science-policy event organised within the #EUGreenWeek on 30 May in Sibiu, Romania, focused on forest biodiversity and forest restoration while marking the official launch of SUPERB. SUPERB, Europe’s…