iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Kretzschmaria deusta, a limiting factor for survival and safety of veteran beech trees in Trentino (Alps, Northern Italy)

Giorgio Cordin (1), Giorgio Messina (2)   , Giorgio Maresi (1), Fabio Zottele (1), Fabrizio Ferretti (3), Lucio Montecchio (4), Claudia Maria Oliveira Longa (5)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 14, Issue 6, Pages 576-581 (2021)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3830-014
Published: Dec 18, 2021 - Copyright © 2021 SISEF

Research Articles

The importance of veteran trees is well recognised nowadays. The sudden breakage of some of these plants in Trentino (Italy), mainly due to Kretzschmaria deusta, prompted a survey of the veteran beeches reported in this area. Visual tree assessment was carried out in 40 sites with either single trees or groups of beeches, for a total of 115 trees evaluated. Most trees showed serious defects or problems in need of management and 19 had a high level of risk of breakage because of the presence of several structural problems. The presence of K. deusta was recorded on 50.4% of the examined trees. The pathogen was also identified in the proximity of investigated trees at 29 sites. Laboratory tests confirmed the identity of K. deusta by microbiological and molecular approaches and also identified Cosmopora berkeleyana as mycoparasite on K. deusta fruiting bodies. Isolates obtained from declining trees and old stumps showed the same pattern of growth at different temperatures. The risk evaluation emphasised how the fungus could affect the survival and safety of these veteran trees; this was confirmed by the collapse of four of the investigated trees in the last years. Therefore, K. deusta, which has been considered as a facultative parasite up to now, could play a more incisive role both in the decline of old beech trees and the natural evolution of aging beech woods.


Fagus sylvatica, Xilariaceae, Brittle Cinder, Soft-rot, Visual Tree Assessment, Veteran Tree Conservation

Authors’ address

Giorgio Cordin
Giorgio Maresi 0000-0001-6806-6135
Fabio Zottele 0000-0002-1015-5511
Fondazione Edmund Mach, Technology Transfer Centre, v. E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all’Adige, TN (Italy)
Giorgio Messina
Forest Service, Autonomous Province of Trento - PAT, v. G.B. Trener, 3 - 38121 Trento (Italy)
Fabrizio Ferretti 0000-0002-0604-5336
CREA Research Centre for Forestry and Wood, v.le Santa Margherita 80, 52100 Arezzo (Italy)
Lucio Montecchio 0000-0002-6731-179X
University of Padova, Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry,v.le dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, PD (Italy)
Claudia Maria Oliveira Longa 0000-0003-2819-2844
Fondazione Edmund Mach, Research and Innovation Centre, Department of Sustainable Agroecosystems and Bioresources, San Michele all’Adige, TN (Italy)

Corresponding author

Giorgio Messina


Cordin G, Messina G, Maresi G, Zottele F, Ferretti F, Montecchio L, Oliveira Longa CM (2021). Kretzschmaria deusta, a limiting factor for survival and safety of veteran beech trees in Trentino (Alps, Northern Italy). iForest 14: 576-581. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3830-014

Academic Editor

Alberto Santini

Paper history

Received: Mar 27, 2021
Accepted: Oct 29, 2021

First online: Dec 18, 2021
Publication Date: Dec 31, 2021
Publication Time: 1.67 months

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