Warm environmentalist greetings to everyone.
We recently asked ourselves why, as stated by the volunteers of Spiritus Mundi, Volunteer Organization dedicated to the creation of urban forests in the province of Padua which we support, even more than 50% of the trees planted die before reaching full development and how come this is desirable.
One of the Spiritus Mundi volunteers answered our question, Niccolò Marchi, Forestry Doctor con PhD in Forest Ecology obtained at the University of Padua, who told us the following:
Planting planned so that not all plants survive is desired and preferable for good development of the forest.
Resources and space are limited resources in natural environments, so for a forest to develop from a very young (seedlings) to an adult forest, there is a continuous competition for survival among its plants.
Put bluntly but also realistically, plants do nothing but kill each other to always remain with their foliage in the sun and therefore be able to feed and develop more than their neighbors and be able to carry on the genetic line.
By planting woodlands you are starting from a juvenile stage where there should be thousands of plants filling the space. Have you ever seen a mature forest where the plants are so dense that you can't walk between one tree and another? No, because resources are limited and only a few specimens will be able to reach maturity. Thinning is therefore a natural process, which in some cases is artificially reproduced with the practice of "forest thinning“: it is one of the operations that in forest management is carried out through active cutting but is based on the principle that nature would instead do it itself.
Our choice to leave to nature the role of developing its own biodiversity, thus obtaining a long-lived forest, therefore serves to ensure that the best specimens survive for various characteristics such as the straight trunk and limited branching.
We place a certain quantity of small plants which initially help each other grow because in the first phase the competition stimulates upward growth for the shoots which must be able to emerge from the grass, which causes much more intense competition, growing much faster and thus being able to suffocate tree seedlings.
When the plants come into contact with their foliage, a vexatious competition begins for more space and therefore more light and nutrients, which will lead to the survival of the strongest and most long-lived specimens.
We reiterate that we are honored to be able to count on the commitment of such a serious and prepared association which, in our opinion, could easily be an example for anyone involved in the recovery of natural areas.
Thanks Niccolò and thank you Spiritus Mundi!