LIFE4FIR and the Abies Nebrodensis protagonists of the event organized for the FAI Days – 6 June 2021

On Sunday 6 June 2021, as part of the Giornate FAI di primavera, an event dedicated to the Madonie Fir entitled ’Abies nebrodensis, un albero prezioso’ (Abies nebrodensis, a precious tree) was organized.

An excursion to the natural population was led by Prof. Rosario Schicchi of UNIPA and by Dr. Peppuccio Bonomo, executive of the Madonie Park Authority who illustrated the activities and objectives of the Life4fir project to the numerous participants.

The day allowed the exchange of experiences and information between the Life4fir project and the European Network of Geoparks of which the Madonie Regional Park is part.

Summer update of the progress of the LIFE4FIR project

Germination of seedlings in the nursery

The seedlings obtained from the controlled crosses carried out in spring of 2020 have recently germinated and are growing at the ‘Piano Noce’ forest nursery. The development of the seedlings is constantly monitored by UNIPA researchers and DRSRT technicians. These plants will be used to create new plantations in the reforestation and re-diffusion plots identified for the species.

 

 

The system of fences to protect the Abies Nebrodensis is under construction

The technicians and workers of the DRSRT are engaged in setting up the new fencing system, to replace the old, deteriorated fences. The new fences are higher than the previous ones and surround a wider area around the trees of the natural population, allowing to protect the recently surveyed natural regeneration from wild herbivores and anthropogenic pressure.

 

 

 

Remote sensing via drone and monitoring activities of the LIFE4FIR project

The remote sensing via drone of the LIFE4FIR project

At the beginning of October 2020 the survey of the Abies nebrodensis natural are was carried out using a drone equipped with multispectral cameras. Remote sensing allows the monitoring of the health of trees and habitat through the measure of the radiation reflected by the vegetation.

During the drone flight, panoramic shots of the habitat and of the individual trees of the Abies nebrodensis population were acquired.

Tree n. 8

Trees n. 10 ed 11

Tree n. 12

Trees n. 16 e 17

Tree n. 19

Phytosanitary monitoring and laboratory activities of LIFE4FIR project

Phytosanitary surveys were carried out in November 2019 and in October 2020. Trees were subjected to a careful visual examination to evaluate their vegetative condition based on observations of the crown shape and transparency, turning foliage, presence of declining, desiccated or damaged parts, occurrence of lesions.

Laboratory analysis for LIFE4FIR monitoring activities

Laboratory analysis of collected samples were conducted through: observations under stereomicroscope, isolation and culture of fungal colonies and their genetic characterization through PCR amplification and sequencing of target loci for their identification. This allowed identification of the fungal microflora associated with the observed alterations and to detect the possible presence of harmful pathogens.

Summer update on the activities and results achieved by LIFE4FIR

The activities for the protection of the specimens of Abies Nebrodensis and their repopulation foreseen in the LIFE4FIR project continue also in these hot summer months.

Here are some new photos taken by the beneficiaries during field trips and laboratory activities.

Adult specimen of Abies Nebrodensis with damaged top

 

Damages by wild animals on adult specimens

 

Specimen affected by defoliation

 

Specimen showing scattered desiccation

 

Specimen whose top has been removed to eliminate the almost desiccated part

 

Nursery-grown seedlings with desiccation and chlorosis

 

Branch with desiccation observed in the laboratory

 

Detail of alteration observed under the stereoscope in the laboratory

 

Collaborator at the laboratory counter engaged in the isolation of fungal colonies

The progress of the LIFE4FIR project continues!

Despite the continuing difficulties associated with COVID-19, the activities of the LIFE4FIR project have not stopped. In the last few months, there have been both field actions (such as in situ observation of trees in their habitat and of plants in the nursery and operations during the pollination phase) and monitoring and lab analysis actions. Following there are some photos taken by the beneficiaries during these recent activities.

Damage caused by wild animals on adult specimen of Abies Nebrodensis

 

Adult specimen of Abies Nebrodensis with defoliated and damaged crown

 

Adult specimen of Abies Nebrodensis with bare foliage in its lower part due to the shadow of beech trees

 

Adult specimen of Abies Nebrodensis with scattered desiccations

 

Seedlings raised in the nursery with desiccation, defoliation and chlorosis

 

Desiccation and defoliation of plant branches in the laboratory

 

Needles and twigs with alterations, observed with stereoscope in laboratory

 

Isolation of fungal pathogens in the laboratory

LIFE4FIR Kick-Off meeting in Palermo – 2-3 October 2019

The Kick Off meeting of the LIFE4FIR (here the agenda) project was held the 2nd October 2019 in the wonderful setting of the Orto Botanico di Palermo.

The meeting was attended by the Cooodinating beneficiary CNR IPSP (Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection) and CNR IBE (Institute of Bioeconomy) and by representatives of all associated beneficiaries: Ente Parco delle Madonie (EPM); Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca sull’interazione Tecnologia-Ambiente – Università Di Palermo (CIRITA-UNIPA); Assessorato Regionale dell’Agricoltura, dello Sviluppo Rurale e della Pesca Mediterranea, Dipartimento Regionale dello Sviluppo Rurale e Territoriale (DRSRT); University of Seville (US).

The meeting mainly has been aimed at developing a common view of the project mandate, fostering team building and establishing working relationships, beginning to tackle together the work to be done and focusing on the tasks that each beneficiary will have to deal with in the next months.

During the meeting, all beneficiaries have been acquainted on the main administrative and financial aspects of the Life programME.

The following day, 3rd October 2019, the LIFE4FIR group was welcomed by the Major of Polizzi Generosa, the municipality where the Abies nebrodensis population is located, and then visited in situ the relic trees’ area and the ‘Piano Noce’ nursery, where most activities on seedlings will be conducted during the project.

 

Presentations held during the meeting

 

First day meeting at the Botanical garden of Palermo

Coordinator and partners of the LIFE4FIR project, presenting their Institutions and the activities in which they will be involved within the project.

 

LIFE4Fir project and objectives was briefly introduced to students attending the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Palermo.

 

The LIFE4FIR group which attended the Kick Off meeting the 2nd October 2019 at the Orto Botanico of Palermo.

 

LIFE4FIR welcomed by the Major

The LIFE4FIR group was welcomed by the Major of Polizzi Generosa

 

In situ visit to the relic Abies nebrodensis population

Natural regeneration of Abies nebrodensis.

 

The LIFE4FIR workgroup was joined by a couple of german tourists which was hiking the Abies nebrodensis path in the Parco delle Madonie.

 

The Abies nebrodensis tree nr. 13 from which cones were collected soon before their maturation.

 

Coordinator and part of the LIFE4FIR group during the visit to the Abies nebrodensis relic population, guided by employees of the Parco delle Madonie.

 

Visit to the Piano Noce nursery

LIFE4FIR group and employees of the Piano Noce nursery which was visited during the second day of the meeting.

 

LIFE4FIR group visiting the plots in the Piano Noce nursery  where Abies nebrodensis seedlings are growing.

 

Coordinator and some colleagues of CNR visiting a site suited for the establishment of new clonal orchard as planned in the LIFE4FIR project.

 

At the following link is available the press release issued by the Parco delle Madonie’s Authority on parks.it!