Studying and conserving forests and trees

Gianluca Piovesan is professor at the University of Tuscia, Department of Ecological and Biological Sciences (DEB), Viterbo (Italy) where he directs the DendrologyLab and Landscape Ecological Forest Planning Lab.

I focus on: forest ecology and management, ecological landscape planning, management plan of Unesco World Heritage natural sites, protected areas, biodiversity, tree longevity, nature conservation, old-growth forests, masting, restoration ecology, impacts of climate change at multiple spatial and temporal scales, historical ecology, paleoecology, natural capital, ecosystem services, rewilding, sustainability, well-being, science communication.

Contacts - Email: Phone: +39 0761357387; Cell: +39 3804399787 Skype: gianluca.piovesan

Courses taught

Teacher of the following courses at University of Tuscia (DEB and DAFNE):

Forest Ecology and Management, Dendrology, Forest Monitoring, Ecological Planning of Forest Landscape, Dendroecology, Global changes and rewilding


Reviews Editor: Trees

Associate Editor:

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution


Last papers

Charles H. Cannon, Gianluca Piovesan, Sergi Munné-Bosch (in press). Old and ancient trees are life history lottery winners and vital evolutionary resources for long-term adaptive capacity. Nature Plants

Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, Gianluca Piovesan, Alessandro Chiarucci (2021). Italy: Forest harvesting is not green growth. Nature 595, 353.

Gianluca Piovesan and Franco Biondi (2021). On tree longevity. Tansley Review, New Phytologist, 231(4), pp. 1318–1337 . DOI: 10.1111/nph.17148., Plantae, NevadaToday, Scientific American

Solano, F., Praticò, S., Piovesan, G., & Modica, G. (2021). Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Derived Canopy Gaps in the Old-Growth Beech Forest of Mount Pollinello (Italy): Preliminary Results. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), 2021, 12955 LNCS, pp. 126–138 . Springer, Cham.

Colangelo, M., Camarero, J. J., Gazol, A., Piovesan, G., Borghetti, M., Baliva, M., ... & Ripullone, F. (2021). Mediterranean old-growth forests exhibit resistance to climate warming. Science of The Total Environment, 801, 149684. La Repubblica, Huffpost

Solano, F., Praticò, S., Piovesan, G., Chiarucci, A., Argentieri, A., & Modica, G. (2021). Characterising historical transformation trajectories of the forest landscape in Rome's Metropolitan area (Italy) for effective planning of sustainability goals. Land Degradation & Development, 32(16), pp. 4708–4726.

Brusco, A., Marchianò, R., Giglio, G., Piovesan, G., & Sperone, E. (2021). Eat until bursting: an unusual feeding attempt by a European Asp, Vipera aspis (Linnaeus, 1758), on a Western Green Lizard, Lacerta bilineata Daudin, 1802, in Calabria (Southern Italy). Herpetology Notes, 14, 563-565.

Sangüesa-Barreda, G., Di Filippo, A., Piovesan, G., Rozas, V., Di Fiore, L., García-Hidalgo, M., García-Cervigón, A. I., ... & Olano, J. M. (2021). Warmer springs have increased the frequency and extension of late-frost defoliations in southern European beech forests. Science of The Total Environment, 775, 145860.

Poponi, S., J. Palli, S. Ferrari, G. Filibeck, T. G. W. Forte, C. Franceschini, A. Ruggieri and G. Piovesan. (2020). Toward the development of sustainable ecotourism in Italian national parks of the Apennines: insights from hiking guides. Ecology and Society 25 (4):46. [online] DOI: .

Piovesan, G., Baliva, M., Calcagnile, L., D’Elia, M., Dorado-Liñán, I., Palli, J., ... & Quarta, G. (2021). In the Mediterranean Mountains, Some Sessile Oaks Can Live for a Millennium. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 102(1), 1-6.

Gianluca Piovesan, Michele Baliva, Lucio Calcagnile, Marisa D’Elia, Isabel Dorado-Liñán, Jordan Palli, Antonino Siclari, Gianluca Quarta (2020). Radiocarbon dating of Aspromonte sessile oaks reveals the oldest dated temperate flowering tree in the world. Ecology, 101(12), e03179. DOI:10.1002/ecy.3179. Esa blog,, The Times

Brienen Roel et al. (2020). Forest carbon sink neutralized by pervasive growth-lifespan trade-offs. Nature Communications 11, Article number: 4241. DOI: 0.1038/s41467-020-17966-z

Chiara Lelli, Juri Nascimbene, Davide Alberti, Nevio Agostini, Antonio Zoccola, Gianluca Piovesan, Alessandro Chiarucci (2020). Long term changes in Italian mountain forests detected by resurvey of historical vegetation data. Journal of Vegetation Science, 32(1), e12939. DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12939

Mensing, S., Schoolman, E.M., Palli, J. & Piovesan, G. (2020). A consilience-driven approach to land use history in relation to reconstructing forest land use legacies. Landscape Ecol. (2020). DOI: 10.1007/s10980-020-01079-5 , Shared link,

Sangüesa-Barreda, G., Esper, J., Büntgen, U., Camarero, J.J., Di Filippo, A., Baliva, M. & Piovesan, G. (2020). Climate-human interactions contributed to historical forest recruitment dynamics in Mediterranean subalpine ecosystems. Global Change Biology, 26(9), pp. 4988–4997. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15246. DCYT,, la Repubblica

Alessandro Chiarucci & Gianluca Piovesan (2020). Need for a global map of forest naturalness for a sustainable future. Conservation Biology, 34 (2), 368-372 . Phys,org, Technology, Il punto quotidiano, Adnkronos, TUTTOGREEN - La Stampa, Quoted Business

Gianluca Piovesan, (2019) A light‐demanding pine spreads into a closed forest. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Ecopics, DOI:10.1002/fee.2109. ESA twitter

Gianluca Piovesan, Franco Biondi, Michele Baliva, Giuseppe De Vivo, Vittoria Marchiano, Aldo Schettino, Alfredo Di Filippo, (2019). Lessons from the wild: slow but increasing long-term growth allows for maximum longevity in European beech, Ecology, Volume100, Issue9, e02737, ESA Blog, Ecology Twitter, Press release, Corriere della sera, le Scienze, Corriere della Calabria, Non Sprecare, Touring Club Italiano

The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America (2019): Slow Growth Leads to Longevity in Temperate Hardwoods, Bull Ecol Soc Am 100(3):e01560.

Gianluca Quarta, Alfredo Di Filippo, Lucio Calcagnile, Marisa D’Elia, Franco Biondi, Emanuele Presutti Saba, Michele Baliva, Giuseppe De Vivo, Aldo Schettino, Gianluca Piovesan (2019) IDENTIFYING THE 993–994 CE MIYAKE EVENT IN THE OLDEST DATED LIVING TREE IN EUROPE. Radiocarbon, 61(5), 1317-1325. TG3 Leonardo

Gianluca Piovesan, Franco Biondi, Michele Baliva, Anna Dinella, Luca Di Fiore, Vittoria Marchiano, Emanuele Presutti Saba, Giuseppe De Vivo, Aldo Schettino, Alfredo Di Filippo (2019). Tree growth patterns associated with extreme longevity: implications for the ecology and conservation of primeval trees in Mediterranean mountains (click Share Link). Anthropocene, 26, June 2019, 100199. Press release; Comunicato stampa; La Repubblica, NewTuscia,

Archer, C., Noble, P., Rosen, M. R., Sagnotti, L., Florindo, F., Mensing, S., Piovesan, G and Michetti, A. M. (2019). Lakes as paleoseismic records in a seismically-active, low-relief area (Rieti Basin, central Italy). Quaternary Science Reviews, 211, 186-207.

Dorado‐Liñán I., Piovesan G., et al. (2019) Geographical adaptation prevails over species‐specific determinism in trees’ vulnerability to climate change at Mediterranean rear‐edge forests. Global change biology 25 (4), 1296-1314 .

Edward M. Schoolman, Scott Mensing, and Gianluca Piovesan (2018). Land Use and the Human Impact on the Environment in Medieval Italy. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 419–444

G. Piovesan, F. Biondi, M. Baliva, E. Presutti Saba, L. Calcagnile, G. Quarta, M. D’Elia, G. De Vivo, A. Schettino, A. DiFilippo (2018). The oldest dated tree of Europe lives in the wild Pollino massif: Italus, a strip-bark Heldreich’s pine. Ecology, Volume 99, Issue 7, 1682-1684

G. Piovesan, F. Biondi, M. Baliva, L. Calcagnile, G. Quarta, A. Di Filippo (2018) Dating old hollow trees by applying a multistep tree-ring and radiocarbon procedure to trunk and exposed roots. MethodsX, 5, 495-502

Piovesan, G. & Lüttge, U. (2018) Tree growth dynamics during early ontogenetic stages in closed forests. Trees, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 671–673

Mensing, Scott A., Schoolman, Edward M., Tunno, Irene, Noble, Paula J., Sagnotti, Leonardo, Florindo, Fabio, Piovesan, Gianluca (2018) Historical ecology reveals landscape transformation coincident with cultural development in central Italy since the Roman Period. Scientific Reports, 2138, 8, 1 NEVADA Today. The messy history of pristine landscapes

Piovesan Gianluca, Mercuri Anna Maria, Mensing A. Scott (2018) The potential of paleoecology for functional forest restoration planning: lessons from Late Holocene Italian pollen records. Plant Biosystems - An International Journal Dealing with all Aspects of Plant Biology, 152 (3), 508-514

A new method for assessing the age of old-growth forests. In this post, Associate Editor Nathalie Butt discusses a recent paper ‘Tree-ring based metrics for assessing the functional naturalness of forests‘ by Alfredo Di Filippo, Franco Biondi, Gianluca Piovesan and Emanuele Ziaco (2017) Tree ring‐based metrics for assessing old‐growth forest naturalness. Journal of Applied Ecology, 54(3): 737-749.

Journal Covers

The Scientific Naturalist (Ecology) trilogy of the oldest trees in Europe

Pinus heldreichii, 1232 years

Pollino National Park

Quercus petraea, 934 ± 65 yr

Aspromonte National Park

Fagus sylvatica, 623 years yr

Pollino National Park

Recent Projects

Combining Historic and Ecologic Archives to Understand Past Environmental Change, NSF Award

ITALIAN MOUNTAIN LAB - Research and Innovation for the Mountain environment and territories

Dafne-Unitus, Department excellence project 2017 - WP1: Nature, Forests and Sustainable Management of Agro-Silvo-Pastoral systems. Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (web site coming soon).

VITERBO DECLARATION - On safeguarding functional beech forest ecosystems

Forest Conservation - Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe - Unesco World Heritage site. Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park ---- Forest beat -

Historical-ecological aspect of sustainability - Understanding Human Responses to Environmental Change Using a 2,500-Year Reconstruction of Paleoecologic and Socioeconomic History - NSF Award

Last Congresses and Worshops

Extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee,

Bosnia and Herzegovina / Czechia / France / Italy / Montenegro / North Macedonia / Poland / Serbia / Slovakia / Switzerland, Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe [extension of “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”, inscribed in 2007, extensions in 2011 and 2017]

Faggete vetuste: Valle Infernale (Aspromonte), Pollinello, Sfilzi (Gargano)

HALF-EARTH DAY 2018 - Bologna 22 ottobre, ore 15.00. Aula Magna / Dipartimento di Chimica

La salvaguardia della biodiversità è una delle grandi sfide che l’umanità si troverà a fronteggiare nei prossimi decenni. Da qui alla fine del secolo le perdite di biodiversità saranno enormi - si stima la scomparsa del 50% delle specie del Pianeta.

“Metà della Terra agli umani e metà della Terra al resto della vita”, è la proposta di Edward O. Wilson, che richiede un nuovo patto tra uomo e natura a tutela della persistenza della vita sul Pianeta.

Si discuterà della possibile applicazione del concetto di “Metà del Pianeta” in una tavola rotonda organizzata dall’Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna nell’ambito dell’ISA Topic 2018 “Game of Fears”. Lancio dell'iniziativa su La Repubblica

Scientific Communications

Faggete vetuste Unesco, Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe


Canale 5 - ITALIA CAMPIONE D'EUROPA, GLI ALBERI MONUMENTALI (Ambiente Giovani, 29 dicembre 2021)

Canale 5 - Foreste Italiane patrimonio dell'umanità (Ambiente Giovani, 6 ottobre 2021)

TG2 Sorie - Censimento secolare (puntata del 1 maggio 2021 dal minituo 35)

Raiplay - Immersi nelle Foreste vetuste tra le radici del futuro - Notte Europea dei ricercatori

Geo Rai3. Italus, Michele e Norman: Alberi e foreste vetuste del Pollino (puntata del 15 novembre 2019, dal 1: 15 circa)

Mille Anni in foresta, Nautilus, Rai Scuola


Radio 3 Scienza, Il Valore dell'Ambiente , l'Italia brucia -- RadioRai, Vaghi boschetti di soavi allori, Tutta la Città ne Parla: Gli alberi, il tempo -


Apollinea, maggio-giugno 2019, Negli anelli del pino loricato del Pollino la storia dei cambiamenti climatici dell'antropocene,


Alberi, le regole per vivere mille anni, Italus: l'albero più vecchio d'Europa - La Repubblica ---- I cacciatori di foreste vergini RLab

Corriere Sera: Gli alberi più vecchi sono quelli che vivono in condizioni più dure - L'eleganza del faggio (TCI)

La Repubblica A Villa Borghese, il museo degli antichi platani -- Global Forest Watch: Una banca dati libera e gratuita la coscienza ecologica riparte da qui

Conservation messanging