Current issue: 53(4)
This paper reports on the possibility and difficulties in building growth models from past Forest Administration records on cut and growth in the Italian Alps. As a case study, a matrix model was calibrated for uneven-aged forests in the Valsugana valley of the Trentino province. The model gave reliable predictions over 30 years, and plausible long-term forest dynamics, including steady-states that are similar to virgin forests. The results support the view that the current forests are deeply altered as to composition, relative to what would obtain from natural growth. They also support the concept of long cyclic changes in natural stands, gradually approaching a climax state. Shortcomings of the data are that they do not come from an experimental design, they are not always accurate, and they must be supplemented with other information, especially concerning mortality. Still, these cheap and available data can lead to workable models adapted to local conditions, with many management applications.