The classification of a Monumental Tree can take place if at least one of the following requirements is met:
- Age: the longevity of the plant is a significant element
- Dimensions: Very large size for the species or larger than the other individuals of the same species present in the examined area
- Particular shape or bearing: Unusual shape or bearing for the species
- Ecological value: this is the case, for example, of trees that become a refuge for small fauna or home to a large number of organisms including fungi and insects);
- Plant architecture;
- Botanical Rarity; a rare plant certainly acquires a great biological value;
- Value, historical, cultural, religious: they are tall trees that bear a precise reference to events or memories relevant from the historical, cultural, documentary or local traditions point of view; this is also the case of tall trees inserted in particular architectural complexes of historical and cultural importance, such as villas, monasteries, churches, botanical gardens and private historical residences.
- Landscape value: for example rows and trees of particular landscape value, including those inserted in urban centers;
We can also use the following classification:
- Monumental trees not included in the national list (poor protection)
- Monumental trees included in the national list (Protected trees Art. 7 Law 10/2013) (first level protection)
- Monumental trees of Notable public interest (Landscape constraint pursuant to Art. 136 of Legislative Decree 42/2004) (second level protection)
In order to understand the classification given, let's see how the current legislation identifies the sector.
La law 14 January 2013, n. 10, in addition to dictating rules for the development of urban green spaces, it is the law that, together with the relative implementing decree 23 October 2014, defines and protects documentary trees, guaranteeing them specific landscape protection. Launched with the aim of providing uniqueness criteria useful for the protection and safeguarding of monumental trees, the law, in addition to providing a definition of the monumental tree, which each Region is obliged to implement at the legislative level, establishes, among other things, 'of course:
- each Municipality carries out a census of the monumental trees falling within the territory of its own competence, transmitting the results to the Regions;
- the Regions, after an appropriate investigation of the municipal proposals, draw up a regional list to be sent to the State Forestry Corps (see note *) in order to create a national list of monumental trees.
Note (*): From 1 January 2017, with the elimination of the State Forestry Corps, the coordination, collection, management of information and issue of opinions required by law have been transferred to the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies.
In order to ensure maximum protection for monumental specimens, the law prohibits their demolition as well as changes to the related equipment, reserving the possibility of carrying out interventions of this type only for justified and urgent cases, in the face of municipal authorization and prior mandatory opinion. and binding of the State Forestry Corps. For unauthorized damage and killing, the law, unless the facts constitute a crime, provides for administrative penalties of between 5.000 and 100.000 euros.
Il inter-ministerial decree of 23 October 2014, implementing the regulatory provisions, defined the monumentality criteria on the basis of which to take a census and dealt in detail with the technical and operational aspects of the entire census activity as well as that concerning the preparation of lists at both regional and national level,
The Law 14 January 2013 n. 10 (Article 7, paragraph 1) taken from the Interministerial Decree 23 October 2014 (Article 7, paragraph 1) identifies the "monumental trees".
- tall tree isolated or part of natural or artificial wood formations wherever located or the typical secular tree, which can be considered as rare examples of majesty and longevity, for age or size, or of particular naturalistic value, for botanical rarity and peculiarities of the species, or that bear a precise reference to events or memories relevant from the historical, cultural, documentary or local traditions point of view;
- the rows and trees of particular landscape, monumental, historical and cultural value, including those inserted in urban centers;
- tall trees inserted in particular architectural complexes of historical and cultural importance, such as villas, monasteries, churches, botanical gardens and private historical residences.
Article 7 paragraph 2 of the 2014 inter-ministerial decree also provides further elements for the identification of monumental trees:
Identification of monumental trees
For the purposes of identifying single monumental trees or monumental plant formations referred to in paragraph 1, letter b), specimens belonging to both native species - species naturally present in a specific geographical area in which they originated or reached without the direct intervention, intentional or accidental, of man - which are alien - species not belonging to the original flora of a specific geographical area, but which have arrived there through the intervention, intentional or accidental, of man.
National List of Monumental Trees
With the Ministerial Decree N.5450 of 19/12/2017, the first list of monumental trees in Italy is published, drawn up pursuant to article 7 of the law of January 14, 2013, n.10 and the related implementing decree of October 23, 2014 .
The list also contains the indications of which monumental trees are proposed for the declaration of notable public interest pursuant to art. 138 and following of Legislative Decree 22 January 2004, n. 42 and subsequent amendments and additions, the Regions also send related Communication and documentation to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, in order to update the SITAP database (Territorial Environmental and Landscape Information System).
The trees or homogeneous systems of trees registered in the List of monumental trees in Italy are indicated in special tables according to the scheme of attachment no. 6 of the interministerial decree of 23 October 2014, adding the following wording “Monumental tree protected under article 7 of the law of 14 January 2013, n. 10 "or" Homogeneous system of monumental trees protected under art. 7 of the law 14 January 2013, n. 10 ". The total number of entries on the first list consists of n. 2.407 trees or homogeneous systems of trees.
With managerial decree prot. n. 661 of 09/08/2018, published in the Official Journal n. 231 of 04/10/2018, was approved on first update of the national list, elaborated on the basis of the lists received from some Regions, comprising a total of n. 332 new registrations.
With managerial decree prot. n. 757 of 19/04/2019, published in the Official Journal n. 110 of 13/05/2019, was approved on second update of the national list, also elaborated on the basis of the lists received from some Regions, including a total of n. 509 new registrations.
With managerial decree prot. n. 9022657 of 24/07/2020, published in the Official Journal n. 195 of 05/08/2020, was approved on third update of the national list, always elaborated on the basis of the lists received from some Regions, comprising a total of n. 379 new registrations.
The integration and variation decrees also approve variations due to loss of specimens due to natural death or reduction or loss of requirements due to high structural and physiological deterioration, as well as corrections to some data.
The total number of trees or homogeneous systems of trees registered in the List, supplemented by the new inscriptions and deducted the variations found connected to the loss, of specimens due to natural death or reduction or loss of the requisites due to the high structural and physiological deterioration amounts to n. 3.561. (Source: Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies)
- Law n. 10 of 14/01/2013
- Interministerial Decree of 23 October 2014
- Circular on the indicative minimum circumference values by species pursuant to Ministerial Decree 23 October 2014 art. 5 c.1 lett. a (see table in the reporting form and technical annexes section)
- Ministerial Decree of 19 December 2014: Establishment of the list of monumental trees in Italy and guiding principles and criteria for their census.
- DMN5450 of 19/12/2017 - Approval of the national list of Monumental Trees