IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #50 – Filling in knowledge gaps about natural disturbances and their interactions in mountain forests
In mountainous terrain they are called protection forests – forests that protect human settlements and infrastructure against natural disturbances such as rockfall, snow avalanche and shallow landslides.
Natural disturbances are becoming more and more important drivers in many mountain chains worldwide, mainly because of past land-use legacies. But also, under climate change, the incidence of some natural disturbances is increasing.
These disturbances and their interactions can threaten human life and property and can compromise the protection function of mountain forests. Read more…
IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #49 – Citizen scientists around the world take to the woods in an effort to improve the health of forests
The coordinator of a session on citizen science planned for the IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress is aiming high.
He hopes the session will inspire discussion about the merit and potential of a global initiative on invasive forest pest monitoring, with special emphasis and resources for countries with developing economies.
The focus is on invasive species because people are major drivers of their spread. Consumer demand drives globalization and the international trade in ornamental plants, which is a major contributor to the invasive problem. Read more…
IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #48 – Forest tourism can mean billions in economic benefits
Dr. Taylor Stein of the University of Florida in Gainesville believes “that any meeting that addresses the management of the world’s forests is incomplete without a focused discussion on tourism.”
While there is limited research on the impact of nature-based tourism, Dr. Stein pointed to a 2007 report from the Center for Responsible Travel that said nature-based tourism accounted for 7% of the international tourism market and had a $77 billion impact on the world’s economy.
And, he added, surveys of travelers around the world consistently show that natural attractions (e.g. wildlife) are important reasons for their visits and they value conservation and protection of environmental quality.
IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #47 – Remote forest-dependent communities can benefit through social innovation
Many rural forest-dependent communities face similar challenges – lack of infrastructure, housing, and transport as well as aging populations.
When global issues such as climate change, sustainability, and energy and food security are added to the mix, the need for solutions to the challenges becomes much more pressing. Read more…
IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #46 – Getting a handle on future needs of forestland owners
Private owners control nearly 70 million hectares of forestland around the globe and account for well over 50% of the forestland in many countries in Europe and North and South America.
These owners – many of them families, individuals and other small holders – operating within social, financial and political constraints, will largely dictate the future of the forests.
That is the underlying reason for a session at the upcoming IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress in Freiburg, Germany in September entitled: History, Findings and Future Directions of Forest Landowner Research.
Dr. Brett Butler, of the U.S. Forest Service, is coordinating the session and says: “There are numerous individual researchers and institutions that study these private owners, but the opportunities to directly compare findings and methods across countries are limited. Read more…
There is a growing need for better information on how remote sensing data can support biodiversity monitoring in tropical forests. In response to this need a new sourcebook has been published with the aim of informing national and sub-national policy and decisions.
More than 70 authors, several of them from the IUFRO community, contributed to the sourcebook that is targeted at project managers, academic institutions, NGOs, students and researchers, among others, with a background in remote sensing. Read more…
IUFRO Spotlight #44 – Evidence linking community forest rights and improved forest condition inconclusive
There is an assumption that there is a correlation, possibly even a direct cause and effect relationship, between the devolution of forest governance and improved forest condition.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was interested in testing that hypothesis to assess its impact on global climate change mitigation and adaptation.
To that end, a group of researchers at Michigan State University was tasked with reviewing, summarizing and commenting on the empirical evidence supporting that conclusion.
In their review of the literature, they found the assumption deserves, at best, a “maybe.” Read more…
The world’s forests seem beset on all sides.
Rising populations and improved incomes are increasing demands for forest products and services ranging from the traditional – food, fuel and timber – to more recently recognized needs such as biomass, bioenergy, nature conservation, recreation and health, as well as forest biodiversity conservation.
At the same time, those rising populations – and changing preferences, such as increased demand for meat and dairy products – lead to forests being cleared to free up land for agricultural and pasture purposes.
Add the other drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, plus increasing temperatures, rapidly altering precipitation patterns and the impacts of continuously growing carbon dioxide concentrations on forest vegetation photosynthesis; and then throw in more extreme weather events that lead to more frequent and intensified droughts and wildfires, the migration of tree pests and diseases – aided by globalization – and one has a global forest under siege. Read more…
As singer-songwriter – and recent Nobel Prize winner – Bob Dylan, once said: The times, they are a-changin’.
That’s certainly true in the forest sector where challenges such as globalization, climate change and societal demands have altered how we view, study and use the forest.
As the forest industry changes to meet new and evolving demands, so too does the focus on forest education.
Forest studies that once concentrated primarily on wood as a resource are now a rarity. Environmental sciences, environmental management, land use, agroforestry and forest science, plus traditional forestry studies are all among today’s educational mix for those with an interest in the woods. Read more…
The 2015 Global Forest Resources Assessments report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted that “…in planted forests, a new timber resource is continuing to be created … (that will) contribute significantly not only to future wood and energy supplies but … (also to) a range of wider social and environmental benefits…”
About 25 years ago, planted forests represented 4% of the world’s forested area. Today they represent almost 7%. But that 7% provides at least one-third of the world’s timber, so their importance should not be underestimated. Read more…