AbstractBiodegradation of lignocellulosic waste from chestnut residues is an important biological process of added value for this sector according to the Chestnut National Plan for agriculture. Dynamic parameters during biodegradation under natural conditions of chestnut burr, leaf, and plant biomass litter are reported in this study. Microbiological and physical-chemical characterisation of chestnut wastes was carried out to monitor this specific biodegradation, to understand the progress and limits of the process and to analyse the compost-like organic substance obtained. Physical-chemical parameters, such as temperature, pH, and water activity, were influenced by the composition of the raw materials and by seasonal climatic conditions. Moreover, microbiological monitoring was assessed by culture-dependent and independent methods. Cellulolytic, hemicellulolytic, and ligninolytic populations were counted to determine different microbial activity during biodegradation process. The functional microbial groups analysed showed different trends, but all were found at high concentrations (7 to 9 log CFU/g). In addition, PCR-DGGE was performed for bacterial and fungal populations to evaluate the microbial diversity. The similarity level during the process was generally very high, both for bacterial and fungal populations. These data are the first on suitable natural degradation for chestnut forests.