Archive for the ‘IUFRO Spotlight’ Category

Spotlight #63 – What’s in the future for Non-Timber Forest Products?

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The roots of many forest plants are harvested for their medicinal values. Changes in climate and lack of management may imperil their long-term sustainability and the people who depend on them. Photo credit: James Chamberlain, USDA Forest Service.

The Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently published “…the most comprehensive assessment covering the production and management of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and resources – as well as the cultural, social, economic, and policy dynamics that affect them.” The assessment covers every state in the U.S.

But the findings can be utilized far beyond the U.S. borders. Read more…

Spotlight #62 – How and why criteria and indicators have changed forest management since the Rio Summit

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Regeneration is also covered by indicators for SFM. Photo: S. Linser.

Sparked in part by the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, the use of criteria and indicators (C&I) for sustainable forest management (SFM) has become an ever more present aspect of forest management.

Since that ’92 summit, “the focus of academic attention has been mainly on global forest governance with a research gap regarding regional (or international) forest related processes,” said Dr. Stefanie Linser of the European Forest Institute, who is also co-ordinator of IUFRO Working Party 9.01.05 on research and development of indicators for SFM. Read more…

Spotlight #61 – Digging into soil and what it means to earth’s survival

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The new living structures are the result of the re-elaboration of the old ones. Soil plays the main role in the process. So, humans who endanger life on our planet express a severe disagreement with a natural harmony that risks triggering negative feedback for the species. This always occurs to other species, why shouldn’t it happen to us? In: Zanella et al., 2018. Humusica 1, article 1: Essential bases – Vocabulary. Applied Soil Ecology, 122 (Part a), pp. 10–21.

Most people think of soil simply as something that grass, trees and other plants grow in and on.

But nothing could be further from the truth, says Dr. Augusto Zanella. Below in quotes, some key concepts gathered during an IUFRO Spotlight interview.

“Soils – in the forest and elsewhere – involve and affect ‘normal life’. They modify the air we breathe, they influence the climate, impact the food we eat and the water we drink”.

“Soil is not a substrate or a source of nutrients. It is a living matrix that sustains the functioning of every ecosystem”.

“It works like an efficient bank. It capitalizes energy and nutrients to be delivered for building and sustaining more complex and efficient ecosystems. It is a source of new materials, continuously generated from biodegradation and re-elaboration of dead structures”. Read more…

Spotlight #60 – Creating a virtuous circle in forest operations

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A newly published study entitled Sustainable Forest Operations (SFO): A new paradigm in a changing world and climate, indicates that “climate change, as well as the increasing demand for forest products, requires a rethinking of forest operations in terms of sustainability.”

The complex system of relationships involved in the SFO concept and its five performance areas including: Economics; ergonomics; environment; quality optimization; and people and society. (Credit: Enrico Marchi, Florence University, Italy)

The study suggests that the SFO concept provides integrated perspectives and approaches to effectively address ongoing and foreseeable challenges while balancing forest operations performance across economic, environmental and social sustainability objectives.

This new concept emphasizes that forest workers’ ergonomics, health and safety, and utilization efficiency and waste management are additional key elements that enrich the understanding of the sustainability in SFO.

In addition, through the promotion of afforestation and reforestation, improved forest management, and green building and furnishing, the SFO concept further emphasizes the role of wood as a renewable and environmentally friendly material. Read more…

Spotlight #59 – Shifting forest development discourses

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Conservation provides employment for local inhabitants at Dzanga Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic. ©Peter Prokosch, http://www.grida.no/resources/1516

Many centuries ago, a Greek philosopher noted that change is the only constant in life.

And change is brought about, in many instances, through discourse.

Discourse has been described in part as: “an ensemble of ideas, concepts and categories through which meaning is given to social and physical phenomena…”

According to this definition, discourse refers to a particular set of related ideas, which are shared, debated and communicated using different formats.

Through various discourses, we can discover fresh information and be introduced to new and different perspectives. We are able to gain experience and insight. As a result, our thinking, our attitudes, and our approaches toward various issues can evolve and change.

Certainly the ways in which forests are viewed, managed and developed have changed as the discourses concerning them have evolved. Read more…

Spotlight #58 – To build a healthier city, build a better forest

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Design of trees along streets is important to minimize trapping of pollutants along sidewalks and roads. Photo: David Nowak

City dwellers around the world could live healthier lives and see health care costs shrink simply by implementing better urban forest design, planning and management.

Recent innovative studies conducted in Canada and the U.S. show that trees remove air pollution – both gaseous and particulate pollutants – and this has a beneficial effect on human health.

And, while the concepts of trees scrubbing the air and cleaner air having beneficial effects are not particularly new, “the innovation derives from linking pollution removal by trees to human health in cities,” said Dr. David Nowak of the US Forest Service, and one of the authors of the studies. Read more…

IUFRO Spotlight #57 – Transition in forest uses demands change in approaches

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Wood chips being transported to a pulp mill. These chips represent the waste stream from a saw mill, but are becoming increasingly valuable as more and more uses for wood are developed. Photo by John Innes.

“The portfolio of goods and services from forests is now very different to that two decades ago; yet there is a disconnect between the institutional framework and these new forms of forest use, leading to efficiency, equity and legitimacy deficits,” said Dr. John Innes, Dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

The changes – from forest planting and forest harvesting and operations, to forest use and forest products – occur at different levels. Today, forests produce a complex array of products from forest ecosystem services to timber and bio-products.

Market values are increasingly being attached to forest ecosystem services and this is changing the value systems associated with forestry. Read more…

IUFRO Anniversary Congress Spotlight #56 – Environment vs. economy: Mapping the forest environmental frontier

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To some, the forests mean combatting illegal logging and associated trade, avoiding deforestation and degradation, conserving biodiversity and protecting wilderness.

Photo by Geoff Roberts, Australia

To others, the forests mean timber as a renewable raw material for uses such as construction and bioenergy, forest-based climate change adaptation and mitigation and transitioning toward a forest-based bioeconomy.

“These issues can be termed the global forest environmental frontier,” said Dr. Georg Winkel, Head of the European Forest Institute’s Resilience Research Programme in Bonn, Germany.

“All the issues are interrelated and relate to a global controversy that asks how we can keep and manage the world’s forests to satisfy both ecological and socio-economic needs now and in the future,” he said.

Dr. Winkel is coordinator of a session entitled The Global Forest Environmental Frontier – What has changed, what has remained unchanged, how will the future look? at the IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress in Freiburg, Germany in September. Read more…

IUFRO Anniversary Congress Spotlight #55: Genetics research crucial to future forest health, adaptation, conservation and sustainable management

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“The role genetics/genomics research can play in forest management is huge but, unfortunately, remains under-utilized,” said Dr. Om Rajora, Professor of Forest Genetics and Genomics at the University of New Brunswick, Canada.

A. Controlled pollination in black spruce to produce F3 progeny at Petawawa Research Forest; B. DNA fingerprints of 10 individuals each of white spruce (WS), black spruce (BS) and red spruce (RS) at a genic microsatellite showing genetic diversity; C. Sampling of old-growth and post-harvest second-growth black spruce to examine the genetic effects of forest harvesting and renewal practices in Manitoba (Rajora and Pluhar 2003, Theor. Appl. Genet. 106: 1203-1212); D. Testing of three-generation outbred pedigree of black spruce under ambient and elevated CO2 conditions for QTL mapping of traits related to acclimation and adaptation to climate change. All pictures were taken by Dr. Om Rajora or his associates.

“Genetics/genomics research can greatly assist the management of natural and planted forests by conserving healthy, productive, well-adapted and genetically diverse natural forest and developing high yielding tree varieties with desired traits for deployment in plantations,” he said.

Dr. Rajora is the organizer and coordinator of a session entitled Genetics and Genomics for Conservation, Climate Adaptation and Sustainable Management of Forests to be presented at the IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress in Freiburg, Germany in September. Read more…

IUFRO Spotlight #54 – Variety could be the spice of life – for forests

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Autumn leaves in a mixed-species forest of France. Photo by Damien Bonal, one of the co-authors of the review.

An increasing number of studies demonstrate that mixed forests can deliver many ecosystem services at a higher level than pure forests.

Today, however, less than 0.1% of plantation forests worldwide are made of mixed tree species. And, by the end of this century there is the potential for about 20% of the world’s forest area to be represented by planted forests.

“More efforts should be made to develop new mixed, planted forests,” said Dr. Hervé Jactel of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research. He is one of the authors of a new review, Tree Diversity Drives Forest Stand Resistance to Natural Disturbances, which reviews the relationships between tree diversity and stand resistance to natural disturbances, and explores the ecological mechanisms behind the observed relationships. Read more…

IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations