Archive for the ‘IUFRO Spotlight’ Category

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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Spotlight #25 – Mixed species growth predictions made easy – well, easier


Mixed species growth predictions made easy – well, easier


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Measuring transpiration by collecting sap flow data from a Eucalyptus globulus tree that is growing in a mixed species plantation with Acacia mearnsii. This will be used to understand the processes driving species interactions in these mixtures. (Photo by David Forrester; Cann River, Australia)

Measuring transpiration by collecting sap flow data from a Eucalyptus globulus tree that is growing in a mixed species plantation with Acacia mearnsii. This will be used to understand the processes driving species interactions in these mixtures. (Photo by David Forrester; Cann River, Australia)

A recent study indicates why it is difficult to predict how mixed-species forests or plantations will grow, but makes those predictions easier by discussing the processes that drive changes over space and time in species interactions.

Since tree species mixtures are regarded as one of the most important approaches to reduce the risks to forests posed by global change, the study’s conclusions will be of interest to forest managers or policy makers using mixed-species forests or plantations.

Entitled The spatial and temporal dynamics of species interactions in mixed-species: From pattern to process, the study is by Dr. David Forrester, Chair of Silviculture, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Freiburg University.

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Congress Spotlight #24 – Got a question? Biomass may be the answer


Got a question? Biomass may be the answer

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By selecting proper species and breeding experiments as well as genetic modifications as done here in Thailand, fast growing species plantations are capable of producing enormous amounts of biomass within short periods of time. The challenge is, however, to sustain soil fertility, biodiversity and other ecosystem services such as clean water. (Photo by Victor Bruckman)

By selecting proper species and breeding experiments as well as genetic modifications as done here in Thailand, fast growing species plantations are capable of producing enormous amounts of biomass within short periods of time. The challenge is, however, to sustain soil fertility, biodiversity and other ecosystem services such as clean water. (Photo by Viktor Bruckman)

It’s just possible that sustainable biomass could be, if not a panacea for the world’s energy challenges, then perhaps the next best thing.

And not only the energy sector would benefit. The reasons for the sustainable use of biomass are many and good, says Dr Viktor Bruckman of the Commission for Interdisciplinary Ecological Studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

In addition to the energy aspect, he adds that biomass offers a range of possibilities as a valuable feedstock for industrial processes. Chemical compounds in biomass can be separated and rearranged to produce everything from composites for use in the automobile industry, to fibres to pesticide ingredients, among others.

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Spotlight #23 – Eucalyptus genome successfully sequenced


Eucalyptus genome successfully sequenced

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Professor Zander Myburg of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in front of Eucalypt trees. Photo by Photowise.

Professor Zander Myburg of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in front of Eucalypt trees. Photo by Photowise.

With a result that offers major potential for the forest industry, an international team of researchers has successfully sequenced and analyzed the genome of Eucalyptus grandis.

“Now that we understand which genes determine specific characteristics in these trees, we will be able to breed trees that grow faster, have higher quality wood and use water and land more efficiently,” said the lead investigator on the project, Prof. Zander Myburg of the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

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Congress Spotlight #22 – Green cities: The benefits of the urban forest


Green cities: The benefits of the urban forest

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Experiencing the floodplain forests of the city of Leipzig, Germany, from the river (photo by Matilda Annerstedt)

Experiencing the floodplain forests of the city of Leipzig, Germany, from the river (photo by Matilda Annerstedt)

The urban forest means different things to different people.

Many of us see only visually pleasing tree-lined streets, or enjoy the coolness afforded by shade trees on hot days.

Those more closely involved with the urban forest see that – and much, much more.

They also see the urban forest in terms of the ecosystem services and values derived from it – reduced energy use of buildings, improved air quality, stream flows, water quality, urban wildlife, human health, climate change (in terms of both mitigation and species composition) and other benefits that are environmental, social and economic.

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Congress Spotlight #21 – The forest pharmacy and food store


The forest pharmacy and food store


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Forest berries (Petr Kratochvil)

Forest berries (Petr Kratochvil)

Sometimes, they say, you can’t see the forest for the trees.

And one group of sub-plenary session organizers for the upcoming IUFRO World Congress in Salt Lake City might amend that to read: “Sometimes you can’t see the forest for anything but the timber value in the trees.”

The organizers – Hannu Raitio and Tuija Sievänen of the Finnish Forest Research Institute; James Chamberlain of the U.S. Forest Service; and Carsten Smith-Hall of Denmark’s University of Copenhagen, will present a session entitled: The value and challenges of integrating food and medicinal forest products into forest management.

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IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations