In April and early May 2022, the field team of the LIFE “Bears with Future” project carried out the first forest treatment in chestnut forests corresponding to action C3 of the project.
This first action has been carried out on a forest plot owned by the Brown Bear Foundation in an area with a high presence of bears and close to critical areas for the species in Cangas del Narcea (Asturias), which was planted with chestnut trees more than 20 years ago and has not received any further treatment. A previous scientific supervision has been carried out by the University of Oviedo advisory team, including a visit by the project’s Scientific Committee and a technical planning and the marking of the trees to intervene.
The elimination of competing trees has been limited exclusively to those that affected the growth and fruiting of the chestnut trees to be grafted, respecting in any case all the trees that produce fleshy fruits and nuts such as cherry trees, rowans, oaks or hazelnuts. The chestnut trees with the greatest potential for performing crown grafts have been selected, sawing the trunk horizontally at a height of 1.5 m and inserting 3 or 4 spikes with 2-3 buds each. Vegetative material has been collected from nearby ancient chestnut trees belonging to the «Parede» variety identified by genetic analysis. An important part of the chestnut trees has been kept ungrafted to favour pollination.
During the development of the treatment, a punctual presence of lesions compatible with canker disease (Cryphonectria parasitica) was detected in a few trees and in general without affecting their viability. All the work has been carried out applying strict precautionary measures against phytosanitary risks, basically consisting of the disinfection of all the tools by spraying bleach diluted 50% in water, sealing all the cuts made with suitable mastic and removing the main wood remains outside the plot.