Archive for the ‘Publications’ 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 #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…

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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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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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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Understanding Relationships between Biodiversity, Carbon, Forests and People: The Key to Achieving REDD+ Objectives

New GFEP assessment report published as IUFRO World Series 31
Edited by: John A. Parrotta, Christoph Wildburger, Stephanie Mansourian

Forests harbour a major proportion of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and provide a wide range of vitally important ecosystem services – including carbon sequestration and storage. Deforestation and forest degradation continue to erode biodiversity and the capacity of forest ecosystems to help mitigate climate change and provide the goods and services that sustain livelihoods and human well-being locally, and globally. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) is a proposed mechanism which has the potential to realise its primary objective – climate change mitigation – with variable impacts, positive and negative, on biodiversity, forests and people. REDD+ is complex, its proposed activities and implementation mechanisms not yet clearly defined, and therefore surrounded by uncertainty. Because of its high relevance to climate change mitigation, the conservation and sustainable use of forests and their biological diversity, the Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+ was established by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests in December 2011 to carry out this assessment.

The Expert Panel included 24 scientists and other experts from a variety of biophysical and social science disciplines relevant to the topics covered in this assessment report. An additional 18 contributing authors added their expertise to the assessment. Each chapter was prepared by a team of Lead Authors and Contributing Authors led by one or more Coordinating Lead Authors. A full draft of the report and its individual chapters was peer-reviewed prior to its completion. The results of this voluntary collaboration between January and October 2012 are presented in the six inter-related chapters comprising this book.

This assessment report evaluates the implications of forest and land management interventions envisaged under REDD+ in a multidimensional and integrated fashion. It summarises the most current scientific literature that sheds light on the relationships between forest biodiversity and carbon (and other ecosystem services), how these complex relationships may be affected by management activities implemented to achieve REDD+ objectives, the potential synergies and tradeoffs between and among environmental and socio-economic objectives, and their relationship to governance issues. Based on the main findings of the assessment (summarised in Chapter 6), a policy brief entitled ‘REDD+, Biodiversity and People: Opportunities and Risks’ has been prepared especially for policy- and decision-makers.

The full report is formally presented at Forest Day 6 on 2 December during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Doha, Qatar (26 November-7 December, 2012).

The report, the policy brief and a press release – New Study Suggests Global Pacts Like REDD Ignore Primary Causes of Destruction of Forests – are available for download.

Report and Policy Brief: http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/biodiv-forman-redd-panel/report/

Press Release: http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/media-information/gfep-bfmr-assessment-press-release/

For more information about the Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+, please visit:
http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/biodiv-forman-redd-panel/

Forest and society: some thoughts on a possible interdisciplinary approach in IUFRO

Bikash Rath
Coordinator, IUFRO Working Party on Community Forestry (9.05.06)

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Summary

Forests are the major source of our ecosystem services that the society avails for its sustenance and healthy growth. Forestry thus has continued to have a very complex and large social dimension with a number of interfaces between forest and society. These interfaces range from exploitation to protection & conservation. They form the key to an interdisciplinary approach between forestry sciences and social sciences, and create the potential for a mutual collaboration between the two.

Now, the question is: Do we really need such an interdisciplinary approach? How about forestry totally independent of social science, and vice versa?

The fact is that social scientists/activists/organizations pioneered in discovering many misdeeds and errors which the foresters either ignored or were unaware of, and this provided a scope for developing holistic management models for effective conservation of forest & wildlife.

Going for an interdisciplinary approach doesn’t disturb the exclusive identity of a stream/subject, rather it liberalizes it in a constructive manner creating scope for a more comprehensive and holistic understanding as well as expression. It’s like two or more nations sharing their boundaries (they obviously do not and cannot share all their boundaries with each other). And the challenges in the present world critically need an interdisciplinary approach for facing them in an effective and holistic way.

RCDC took a significant initiative towards making such interface possible in forest management. In the training-cum-workshop organized in 2010 it invited villagers practicing community forestry, and also some forestry experts to discuss silviculture in community forestry. And the interaction came out with a very interesting conclusion that silviculture needs to be participatory so as to avoid the possible ill effects (communities reported how the Departmental silviculture led to clearing of some of the valuable NTFP species and also to the invasion of weeds). It also gave a message to the community that silviculture doesn’t mean only thinning & cleaning, but it considers a lot of other elements and activities for overall forest development. Thus, silviculture itself can serve as an interface between foresters and communities, and participatory silviculture becomes an interdisciplinary approach.

One can obviously identify more interface points. In fact, few of the IUFRO units already recognize that their approach is and should be interdisciplinary. Further, limitations of the existing scope do not mean that we can’t have more/new points of interface in future, with changing dynamics.

Keeping ourselves mystified with our own identity followed by an attitude to not open to suggestions from other areas are our biggest barriers in promoting such an approach; so demystification must be a key word to remove such a barrier. The sub-division/WP coordinators have to identify the possible interface points first and the division coordinators have to ensure an attitude for demystification and liberalization. The IUFRO Secretariat can closely monitor the track.

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The author works for Regional Centre for Development Centre (RCDC), a IUFRO member from India, in the capacity of Sr. Programme Manager; and the above article has been written in response to the debate on interdisciplinary approach in the IUFRO Division 9 conference recently held at Sarajevo from 9-11 May, 2012.

IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations