Forest types system of nomenclatures have been developed in Italy both in Alpine and Apennine forest areas. The forest type approach enable to characterize forest lands on the basis of ecological and environmental criteria that help in correctly identifying management approaches, oriented, in general, to sustainable forest management practices. In order to support forest planning at regional level forest maps are commonly produced on the basis, in general, of remotely sensed images. Traditional forest maps generally adopt systems of nomenclature based on the identification of dominant forest species or group of dominant species and are frequently implemented at scales between 1:25.000 to 1:100.000. In the last years the two processes (development of forest types system of nomenclatures and forest mapping) have merged in mapping projects were map legends are derived from forest types system of nomenclature. New geographic information technologies facilitated such a process for the wider availability of high and very high resolution remotely sensed images acquired by airborn or satellite platforms, for the development of GPS technologies and of advanced methods for the integration of maps and forest inventory data. This contribution, after recalling the main steps of the technological development of the methods for forest mapping in Italy, presents the first results obtained in the recent mapping projects carried out at 1:10.000 scale level in central Italy in Molise, Abruzzo and Lazio regions. Different mapping approaches are here presented illustrating positive and negative aspects of methods for the automatic and semi-automatic elaboration of remotely sensed imagery versus manual GIS based interpretation. The problems related to the formal evaluation of the thematic and geometric accuracy of forest maps are also presented illustrating their role in supporting land planning and forest management practices.
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