It is interesting to have the chance to visit so many dendrochronology laboratories in such a short time. I started to get a feeling for different foci of dendrochronology in each country based on the specialties of the researchers in those countries.
During my quick tour of Italy, I was able to visit with the researchers from three universities in Northern Italy (University of Pavia (see previous post), University of Turin (see a future post), and University of Padua (see a future post)). From these visits, I found that the focus for Italian dendrochronology is on Dendroecology with an emphasis on forest management in anthropogenically modified forests. I could definitely appreciate the work on anthropogenically modified forests after traveling around the Swiss and Italian Alps for a few days. I had always heard that European forests have been disturbed by humans for the last 2000 years, but I always thought (as is the case in the United States) that you would still have high-elevation, steep slopes that people would not use. I was amazed at how extensive the human influence was throughout Italy, such as this terracing of the hill slope at high elevation in the Western Italian Alps.
Some excellent work is being done in dendroclimatology (mostly from Dr. Carrer’s lab in Padua and Dr. Di Filippo in Viterbo). Dr. Rosanne Fantucci is a principle in a private company that examines geomorphic hazards (Fantucci 2007, Fantucci and Sorriso-Valvo 1999). Much of the European (and Italian) approach includes wood anatomy as emphasized by Dr. Tommaso Anfodillo, Dr. Gaia Petit, Dr. Daniele Castagneri, and Dr. Manuela Romagnoli (Romagnoli et al. 2011).
From reading the literature, I really like Dr. Piovesan’s work using cluster analysis to determine bioclimatic zones for beech trees throughout Italy (Piovesan et al. 2005a) and his work on masting (Piovesan and Adams 2001). His other work deals a lot with dendroecology of beech trees (Piovesan et al. 2003, Piovesan et al. 2005b, Piovesan et al. 2008).
Dr. Alfredo Di Filippo works with the bioclimatic zones of beech as well (Di Filippo et al. 2007, Di Filippo et al. 2012) and the climate response of beech (Di Filippo et al. 2010). I was amazed at the range of sites that beech can occupy and its dominance in European forests because I am mainly used to it as a riparian species in the United States where it is constrained to more moist sites. Beech-Maple is thought to be the climax forest for much of the eastern United States, but disturbance and a lack of time has prevented its canopy dominance in many of these forests. While visiting the Eastern Italian Alps, this was a dominant species even at fairly high elevations (the brown canopy before leaf-out) and covers many bioclimatic zones as shown by the research cited above.
Dr. Carlo Urbinati is with the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona, Italy and does a lot of work with Dr. Marco Carrer on the climate response of various species (Carrer and Urbinati 2004, Carrer and Urbinati 2006).
Other very productive Italian researchers such as Dr. Paolo Cherubini (WSL) and Dr. Franco Biondi (University of Nevada - Reno) have positions outside of Italy and focus on Dendroecology and Dendoclimatology. I was not able to find a single Italian dendrochronologist who specializes in Dendroarchaeology which is surprising considering the excellent wooden structures throughout the country, especially in Venice.
I will discuss the other researchers and labs (University of Pavia, University of Turin, and University of Padua) in greater depth in other posts.
University of Turin
Dr. Renzo Motta (Full Professor, Specialties: Forest Ecology - Silviculture)
Dr. Giovanni Bovio (Full professor, Specialties: Forest Management - Fire Prevention)
Dr. Raffaella Marzano (Assistant Professor, Specialties: Fire Ecology)
Dr. Giorgio Vacchiano (Post Doc, Specialties: Forest Ecology)
Dr. Davide Ascoli (Post Doc Specialties: Fire Ecology - Fire Management - Forestry - Prescribed Burning - Disturbance Ecology)
Johann Housset (PhD Candidate)
Jose Vazquez (PhD Candidate)
University of Pavia
Dr. Paola Nola (Assistant Professor, Specialties: Dendroecology - Applied Botany - Vegetation Ecology)
University of Padua
Dr. Marco Carrer (Assistant Professor, Specialties: Dendrochronology - Forest Dynamics - Climate Change)
Dr. Daniele Castagneri (Post doc, Specialties: Dendroecology - Wood Anatomy)
Dr. Emanuele Lingua (Assistant Professor, Specialties: Forest ecology)
Dr. Gaia Petit (Assistant Professor, Specialties: Ecology)
Dr. Tommaso Anfodillo (Professor of Forest Ecology, Specialties: Water Relations in Forestry Species - Forest Dynamics - Hydraulic Architecture)
University of Tuscia in Viterbo
Dr. Gianluca Piovesan (Professor and DendroLab Director, Specialties: Dendroecology - Forest management - Nature conservation - Landscape planning - Forest restoration)
Dr. Alfredo Di Filippo (Assistant Professor, Specialties:Tree biology - Forest ecology - Dendroecology - Bioclimatology - Climate change impact)
Dr. Manuela Romagnoli (Professor of Wood Science and Technology, Specialties: Forestry - Wood Science and Technology - Dendrochronology - Wood dating and conservation)
Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy
Dr. Carlo Urbinati (Associate Professor, Specialties: Dendroecology - Climate Response)
Dr. Rosanna Fantucci (Principle consultant with Geologi Associati Fantucci & Stocchi in Rome, Specialties: Geomorphic hazards).
Carrer, M., & Urbinati, C. (2004). Age-dependent tree-ring growth responses to climate in Larix decidua and Pinus cembra. Ecology, 85(3), 730-740.
Carrer, M., & Urbinati, C. (2006). Long‐term change in the sensitivity of tree‐ring growth to climate forcing in Larix decidua. New Phytologist, 170(4), 861-872.
Di Filippo, A., Alessandrini, A., Biondi, F., Blasi, S., Portoghesi, L., & Piovesan, G. (2010). Climate change and oak growth decline: Dendroecology and stand productivity of a Turkey oak (Quercus cerris L.) old stored coppice in Central Italy. Annals of Forest Science, 67(7), 706.
Di Filippo, A., Biondi, F., Maugeri, M., Schirone, B., & Piovesan, G. (2012). Bioclimate and growth history affect beech lifespan in the Italian Alps and Apennines. Global change biology, 18(3), 960-972.
Di Filippo, A., Biondi, F., Čufar, K., De Luis, M., Grabner, M., Maugeri, M., Presutti Saba, E., Schirone, B. and Piovesan, G. (2007), Bioclimatology of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) in the Eastern Alps: spatial and altitudinal climatic signals identified through a tree-ring network. Journal of Biogeography, 34: 1873–1892. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2007.01747.x
Fantucci, R., & Sorriso-Valvo, M. (1999). Dendrogeomorphological analysis of a slope near Lago, Calabria (Italy). Geomorphology, 30(1), 165-174.
Fantucci, R. (2007). Dendrogeomorphological analysis of shore erosion along Bolsena lake (Central Italy). Dendrochronologia, 24(2), 69-78.
Piovesan, G., & Adams, J. M. (2001). Masting behaviour in beech: linking reproduction and climatic variation. Canadian Journal of Botany, 79(9), 1039-1047.
Piovesan, G., Bernabei, M., Di Filippo, A., Romagnoli, M., & Schirone, B. (2003). A long-term tree ring beech chronology from a high-elevation old-growth forest of Central Italy. Dendrochronologia, 21(1), 13-22. DOI: 10.1078/1125-7865-00036
Piovesan, G., Biondi, F., Bernabei, M., Di Filippo, A., & Schirone, B. (2005a). Spatial and altitudinal bioclimatic zones of the Italian peninsula identified from a beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) tree-ring network. Acta Oecologica, 27(3), 197-210.
Piovesan, G., Biondi, F., Filippo, A.D., Alessandrini, A., and Maugeri, M. (2008), Drought-driven growth reduction in old beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forests of the central Apennines, Italy. Global Change Biology, 14: 1265–1281. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01570.x
Piovesan, G., Di Filippo, A., Alessandrini, A., Biondi, F. and Schirone, B. (2005b), Structure, dynamics and dendroecology of an old-growth Fagus forest in the Apennines. Journal of Vegetation Science, 16: 13–28. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2005.tb02334.x
Romagnoli, M., Cherubini, M., Prislan, P., Gricar, J., Spina, S., & Cufar, K. (2011). Main phases of wood formation in chestnut (Castanea sativa) in central Italy—comparison of seasons 2008 and 2009. Drv Ind, 62, 269-275.