Archive for the ‘IUFRO Spotlight’ Category

Spotlight #35 – Cool it! Use Forest Landscape Restoration to Fight Climate Change

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The stoplight tool is essentially a simplified presentation of complex restoration initiatives, and how they may contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation and vice-versa, in a specific local context. (Image by Yougen/iStock)

The stoplight tool is essentially a simplified presentation of complex restoration initiatives, and how they may contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation and vice-versa, in a specific local context. (Image by Yougen/iStock)

Forest landscape restoration (FLR) can be a major weapon in the battle against climate change.

FLR can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation by increasing the productivity of landscapes and by enhancing the resilience of forest ecosystems and reducing the vulnerability of forest-dependent communities.

When one considers that about 25% of the world’s land surface is being degraded in one way or another and about 15% of that land surface is considered appropriate for forest landscape restoration, it underlines both the need for significant remedial action while, at the same time, pointing to a reasonable and beneficial way to achieve that restoration. Read more…

Spotlight #34 – Investigating Potential and Risks in Biomass

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Outgrown coppice forest near Vienna, Austria

Coppice woodlands once provided significant shares of biomass for thermal energy in the proximity to urban areas, while representing hotspots of biodiversity. Can we adopt traditional management practices to today’s needs and still ensure sustainable production? And how can we harmonize existing guidelines to achieve this goal? The image shows a Quercus-Carpinus dominated outgrown coppice forest that is situated within the city boundaries of Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Viktor Bruckman)

Renewable resources are critical to the sustainable future of our planet. That means biomass is being looked on, in many ways, as a potential game-changer.

It is seen as a mitigator of climate change, as a source of energy and as the source for a variety of bio-based products that range from wood to bio-plastics and composite materials.

Recognizing this, IUFRO’s newly constituted Sustainable Forest Biomass Network Task Force plans to explore the potentials and the risks of further development of biomass – specifically biomass from forests.

The Task Force is one of several organized to advance knowledge under five research themes in accordance with the IUFRO 2015-2019 Strategy. Read more…

Spotlight #33 – Connecting the Dots among Forests, Soils and Water

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When one thinks of forests, the immediate thought is most likely of trees. That makes sense.

But forests and trees don’t exist in isolation. Things that affect – and are affected by – forests range from human activities to climate; from water and soils to insects and disease and from economics to forest products, to name just a few.

Bitter Springs Mataranka, Northern Territory, Australia.

Bitter Springs Mataranka, Northern Territory, Australia. Photo: markrhiggins (Fotolia)

With that in mind, the IUFRO 2015-2019 Strategy focuses on five research themes: Forests, Soil and Water Interactions; Forests for People; Forests and Climate Change; Forests and Forest-based products for a Greener Future; and Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Biological Invasions. Read more…

Spotlight #32 – Sharing Knowledge to Rebuild Tropical Forests and Landscapes

Sharing Knowledge to Rebuild Tropical Forests and Landscapes

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Tropical forests contain a huge amount of biological diversity, play a key role in human health, offer a vast array of ecosystem services and have become central to global debates on climate change.

spotlight32-collaborative-decision-makingBut extensive deforestation and degradation are causing a significant decline in the biological diversity and the ecosystem goods and services provided by them. And, in many African countries there is a notable connection between degradation and the inability of decision makers – and the larger society – to access existing scientific knowledge and innovations that could help reverse the impacts of forest degradation. Read more…

Spotlight #31 – Eschew obfuscation! Um, wait. Let me rephrase that…

Eschew obfuscation! Um, wait. Let me rephrase that…

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spotlight31-pencilsDisseminating forest research results beyond the research community to policy makers, decision makers, forest managers, other forest stakeholders and in some instances, to the public, is important.

We all know that.

Those research findings can be used to contribute to the sustainable management of forests, to the health and wellbeing of forest ecosystems and, on a grand scale, to the overall health of our planet and the organisms – including humans – that exist here. (And, from a researcher’s self-interest perspective, the more people who understand the importance of the research, the more potential for continued funding.) Read more…

Spotlight #30 – Forests: Food for thought – and nourishment

Forests: Food for thought – and nourishment

 

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Cashew nuts, Brazil (photo by PJ Stephenson)

Cashew nuts, Brazil (photo by PJ Stephenson)

A report that analyses the complicated, intertwined and often oppositional philosophies, land uses and governance regimes that comprise the forest-food nexus, will help inform deliberations as the United Nations Forum on Forests develops a 15-year roadmap for international forest policy.

At the heart of the new report is the understanding that forests and trees cannot, by themselves, replace the role of agriculture, but they are critically important to food security and nutrition.

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Spotlight #29 – Supersites for Superior Forest Science

Supersites for Superior Forest Science

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The initiative for establishing Supersites for forest research is only a few years old.

In these supersites, sophisticated, state-of-the-art instruments are used and a multitude of factors in the ecosystem is to be measured to obtain baseline data. As examples: spectrometers will measure how trees absorb and scatter light; laser scanners will map the forest’s three-dimensional structure; soil, plant and atmospheric sciences will be integrated; and mechanistic and policy-oriented modeling will be part of the concept. Read more…

Congress Spotlight #28: American Indian forestry: blending science and tradition


American Indian forestry: blending science and tradition

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Prescribed fire used by the Tribes for centuries (Flathead Indian Reservation managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes). Photo by IFMAT-III

Prescribed fire used by the Tribes for centuries (Flathead Indian Reservation managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes). Photo by IFMAT-III

For thousands of years, American Indians have been managing the forests in which they live.

Today, with trained professionals who are tribal members, their forests are managed with modern tools and methods; include manufacturing facilities and address global forest issues such as climate change, forest certification, carbon sequestration and a changing work force.

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Spotlight #27 – Genes the means to screen future forest scene


Genes the means to screen future forest scene

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Women caring for tree seedlings in a nursery in Niger. Credit: Bioversity International/L. Snook

Women caring for tree seedlings in a nursery in Niger. Credit: Bioversity International/L. Snook

Forest ecosystem restoration is a critical component in tackling climate change, combatting biodiversity loss and desertification, and for providing products and services that support livelihoods at a local level.

For those reasons, restoring and rehabilitating forests and degraded lands will be one of the major environmental challenges of this century.

But, as a recent thematic study coordinated by Bioversity International, a IUFRO Member Organization, for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – Genetic Considerations in Ecosystem Restoration Using Native Tree Species – notes, there is more to forest restoration than simply planting trees.

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Congress Spotlight #26: To manage forests sustainably – think synergy


To manage forests sustainably – think synergy

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spotlight26-sustainability-synergyA comprehensive study of the conditions that assist sustainable forest development will be published at the upcoming IUFRO World Congress this fall in Salt Lake City, USA.

The title of the publication, produced by the IUFRO Special Project on World Forests, Society and Environment (IUFRO-WFSE), is Forests Under Pressure – Local Responses to Global Issues.

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IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations