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How progress the implementation of demonstration pilot actions

… in Occitanie (1)

The french National Forest Office (ONF) is involved in the CERES project mainly within the framework of the Specific Tasks Group « GTS 2 - Pilot projects demonstrating an improvement in the quality and ecological connectivity of forest ecosystems », and more precisely the « Activity 2.4 - Implementation of pilots demonstrative actions ».

During the year 2019, we worked to develop this action, according to the CERES spirit and goals. Finally, we decided to experiment alternative methods for forest harvest on mediterranean coppices. Because of its very low economic value, mediterranean forests (Quercus ilex and Q. pubescens) are usually managed as simple coppices, which implies short-term rotations and large clearcuts. This management can easily lead to habitat fragmentations, with negative consequences on species with low moving or dispersal abilities. Thus, CERES represent a perfect opportunity to experiment several alternative logging methods within that kind of forest stands.

The forest choosen to run this action is the Forêt Domaniale du Pic Saint-Loup, in the Hérault (34) department, in the south of France. We have already spotted 4 locations where all the actions will occur, in 2020. 2 of these locations will be concerned by 2 types of alternative logging. Another area will remain unharvested whereas the last one will suffer a « classical » clearcut.

In early and mid 2021, in each area we will run several studies (forest inventory, inital state for ants, spiders, carabid beetles and probably an acoustic survey for bats and grasshoppers). Later in the year, the forest works will occur in the 2 alternative areas.

… in Occitanie (2)

On 03 December 2020, the CNPF Occitanie team carried out a field visit to a forest property in the Gers. It is in this forest that the last pilot site of the European CERES project will be set up. The plot that caught our attention is a 6 ha native oak forest, located on a limestone plateau at an altitude of 100 metres. The species mainly represented is the hairy oak (Quercus cerris). Other oaks are present in the stand: downy oak, pedunculate oak and hybrid varieties. The understorey is composed of many other species: hornbeam, lime, torminal birch, corm, hawthorn.

The objectives of the silvicultural interventions planned on this property are multiple. First of all, it will be a question of maintaining the large hairy oak woods and allowing them to grow by trimming. It is also planned to encourage the installation and development of natural regeneration by opening holes that will act as skylights.

Improving the quality of the stand and maintaining the forest cover over large areas are major challenges for safeguarding biodiversity in this highly agricultural landscape.

Other actions are planned on the property, in particular to recreate a wooded line along a ditch separating two agricultural plots. The details of these interventions will be developed at a later date.

The owner seems very interested in the approach and the proposed actions.

A dendrological inventory will be carried out in January 2021 in order to have a precise picture of the composition of the stand. Naturalist inventories will also be set up at the beginning of 2021 with the aim of measuring the influence of forest exploitation on different species

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