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Aerial photography assists Italy

Based on the national forestry report woodlands in Italy cover an area, which is currently 21.3 percent larger than it was in 1985, at 10,528,080 hectares from 8,675,100. The report is the end product of cooperation between the forest ranger corps and the environment ministry on a woodland census project. The report is based on precise statistical methods applied, based on 300 thousand survey points located across the country. Each point of survey was monitored via aerial photography.

The figures were part of a report submitted during a conference on environmental safeguards hosted by the forest ranger corps in conjunction with their 182nd anniversary. The 10.5 million figure is complemented by an additional 146 thousand hectares of intensive tree farming and 478 thousand hectares of small woods and tree enclave formations.

The report also provides a census of urban parks: parks larger than 0.5 hectares with trees taller than 5 metres account for a sum total of 48 thousand hectares. Smaller urban parks account for a sum total of 20 thousand hectares. The census report was drawn up by The Forest Preservation and Alpine Cultivation Experimental Institute based in Trento. The most significant aspect of the report concerns the fact that woodlands are on the rise, providing greater CO2 and greenhouse sink potential, according to Forest Rangers. The report is in line part and parcel of Italy’s commitments under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol launched as part of international climate change conventions. Italy has also underwritten biodiversity conservation protocols under the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Convention, forest preservation acts (Helsinki Project), all of which have significant, positive repercussions on soil erosion.