Distribution and Economic Potential of the Sweet Chestnut (Castanea Sativa Mill.) in Europe. Conedera, M., Manetti, M. C., Giudici, F., & Amorini, E. 30(2):179–193.
Distribution and Economic Potential of the Sweet Chestnut (Castanea Sativa Mill.) in Europe [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
No official and coherent data on the distribution of the European chestnut exist despite its wide range of distribution and the impor-tant economic role it has played in many countries. In 1997, in the framework of the COST action G4 "Multidisciplinary Chestnut Research", quantitative and qualitative data on chestnutforests were collected mostlyfrom the National Forest Inventories, in order to provide as sound a picture as possible of this important European resource. A total of2.25 million hectares offtrest dominated by ches-tnut were recorded with 1.78 million hectares (79.0 96) cultivated for wood and 0.43 million hectares (19.3 %) for fruit production. The remaining 0.04 million hectares (1.7 %) were classified as irre-gular structures or without any indication. A further 0.31 million hectares are thought to be mixed forest with chestnut. Three types of chestnut countries can be distinguished: (i) coun-tries with a strong chestnut tradition (e.g. Italy France, southern Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Greece), where the chestnut stands are cultivated with intensive and characteristic silvicultural systems (coppices and orchards); (ii) countries with only a partially developed chestnut tradition due to the country's particular geogra-phy (e.g. England) or history (e.g. Croatia, 7iirkey, Georgia); (iii) countries where the chestnut only sporadically occurs (e.g. Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium) or has been recently introduced (e.g. Slovakia, Netherlands). A comparison of the present distribution of traditional silvicultural systems and historical data on chestnut distribution supports the hypothesis that the large-scale chestnutfinest plantations are of post-Roman origin. Chestnut cultivation is now at a turning point as the changed needs of society have changed as it has moved away from a rural-based to an industrial and urban-oriented organization. The evolution of the chestnut market in recent decades confirms the potential of this resource for both traditional products and new services and goods related to organic-food and environmentally friendly products.

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