Beech tree life, between history and memory

May 1861. After years of insurrections, Italy has recently become the Regno d’Italia, a unitary state governed by a constitutional monarchy. In these lands, at an altitude of about 1300 meters, the warmth of spring days and the lengthening of daylight hours allow an underground seed to emerge from the ground. A small sprout of […]

Journey to the Ancient Forests of Italy

In August 2020, I was asked to document in pictures the Italian old-growth beech forests inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A complex task, but even more so, an extraordinary experience. Photographing a forest may seem rather easy: trees don’t run away. However, the reality is far more complicated. Portraying an old-growth beech forest […]

From deadwood, the forest comes to life

Unlike managed and cultivated forests, old-growth beech forests are characterized by the presence of trees in different growth stages. In these dynamic and constantly renewing ecosystems, old and senescent trees facing a slow and relentless decay caused by natural disturbances lead to the accumulation of large amounts of deadwood which comes in various forms: standing dead trees, fallen […]

On the “skin” of beech trees

The tree bark is the outermost layer of trees, through which they interact with the surrounding environment. Besides, it protects them from water loss and from parasites, pathogens, and predators. It is constantly evolving and, especially in intact forests, is often home to an amazing variety of organisms and microenvironments. The bark of the Beech Tree is […]

Beech trees at the service of the environment

Beech forest ecosystems are home to a variety of environments and habitats making them true treasure troves of biodiversity. They are outdoor scientific laboratories of outstanding value for the reconstruction of the climatic history of the territories where they have settled and of the communities inhabiting them. Besides, a healthy forest is an environment of extraordinary […]

The hidden world of the forest

The beech forest floor is home to a surprising biodiversity. If you look closely, you will see that it is formed by various layers. The most superficial layer is the litter, which mainly contains plant material such as leaves, branches, fruits, and animals. Under it, the decay litter consists of decayed organic matter which is broken down by […]

Ecosystem engineers

When you enter a beech forest, your first impression may be of a dull and scarcely populated environment. But if you look closely, you will discover a true treasure trove of biodiversity. The silence of beech forests – especially in spring – is broken by the several songs of the birds inhabiting them and by the […]

The “lungs” of beech trees

While walking in a beech forest, you might have the impression to be in a Gothic cathedral, since the place is shady and wet. In spring, the thin, furry, and bright green leaves of beech trees gradually become thicker and dark green, and the impenetrable foliage of the tree crowns holds most of the sunlight, almost completely blocking out the sun […]