Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category

IUFRO Spotlight #8 – Combatting Climate Change Comprehensively

Combatting Climate Change Comprehensively

By Ben Chikamai (Kenya Forestry Research Institute)
IUFRO Board Member, Kenya

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Degraded forest landscape in the Offinso District, Ghana. The original high forest cover has been modified through over-exploitation of wood resources, agriculture activities, and establishment of human settlements. (Photo by Ernest Foli, FORNESSA)

African forest policy makers and governments could benefit by using a recent study as a template to help bring climate change adaptation into the mainstream of national development strategies.

The study, conducted in two forest-dependent areas in Africa, emphasizes cross-sectoral planning – recognizing and incorporating interacting priorities, such as agriculture, health, forestry, land-use planning, water resources, energy, education, etc. – as a key element in implementing any effective climate change adaptation strategy.

Forests can play an important role in achieving climate change adaptation goals in Africa. But sustainable forest management decisions alone can’t accomplish that. Policy decisions – for forests as well as other resource areas – must complement one another. At present, impacts from some of those other sectors may actually be threatening the forests.

There are a number of pressures on Africa’s forests – agricultural expansion and forest over-use among them. Reducing non-climatic pressures, in a logical, prioritized manner, can help reduce the vulnerability of forest ecosystems. That’s crucial because many people in Africa are highly dependent on forest goods and services. Those people are, and will continue to be, particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Improving the capability of forest dependent communities to adapt to a changing climate will reduce that vulnerability.

The study: Enhancing Adaptation of Forests and People in Africa – Development of Pilot Cases for Selected Forest Ecosystems in Ghana and Malawi, examined forest issues related to climate change in selected areas of those countries. The authors, E.G. Foli and S. Makungwa, worked in those specific areas because they represent typical examples of the ecological and socio-economic situation prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, so the findings could also be applied to countries in West, Central, Southern, and parts of East, Africa.

Among other findings, the study confirmed a general trend of increasing mean annual temperatures and a decline in mean annual rainfall. In the Ghana pilot area this has resulted in forest loss due to wildfire; a decline in the availability of non-timber forest products; reductions in agricultural crop yields; and declining potable water supplies and the associated risk of water-borne diseases. In the Lake Chilwa area of Malawi, in addition to declining potable water supply and its associated disease risks, there has also been poor productivity on tree farms; loss of indigenous trees in communal areas, riverbanks and surrounding forest reserves; a decline in agricultural productivity; and declining fish catch from the lake.

While the study noted how changing climatic conditions can adversely affect livelihoods, health and food security in those communities, it also noted examples of locally initiated adaptation strategies developed to mitigate the impacts of the changing climate. By compiling existing information, including the needs of stakeholders in the various inter-related resource areas, consulting with local communities and assessing and evaluating each project site, enhanced and concrete adaptation measures for the pilot areas were developed.

Then, a priority setting exercise was carried out to identify appropriate and relevant adaptation strategies and activities that would best serve the communities. Similar techniques could be used across a much wider area, the authors say, but that will require political will, financial commitment, and an integrated multi-sectoral – even trans-national – approach. It’s a challenge, they agree, but one that must be faced.

The full study can be found at: http://www.fornis.net/content/enhancing-adaptation-forests-and-people-africa-development-pilot-cases-selected-forest-ecosy

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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. Read more…

IUFRO Spotlight #7 – Setting an ‘Earthy’ Standard

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Setting an ‘Earthy’ Standard

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By Jean-Michel Carnus, Coordinator, IUFRO Division 8
(INRA, France)

Since 2003, 26 European specialists in humus forms have been working to develop a standardized system of classifying the condition and configuration of topsoil layers adapted to European ecological conditions.

The result of their work could become an international reference, of which, none exists today.

Studies have shown that soils store more carbon than terrestrial vegetation and the atmosphere combined, and also that soil organic matter plays a key role in the global carbon cycle as it stores huge amounts of carbon and thus counters global warming.

It is also known that some soil organic matter remains stable for thousands of years while other soil organic matter degrades quickly and releases carbon into the atmosphere thereby reinforcing the greenhouse effect.

So, as the earth’s climate warms and concerns increase about the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, a standardized system will allow a better understanding of the role of the humus forms in the carbon cycle – and the conditions under which they represent a sink (absorbing carbon), or a source (releasing carbon into the atmosphere).

Humus forms – the brown or black layers consisting of partially or wholly decayed matter – provide nutrients for plants and increase the ability of soil to retain water. These layers contain a large part of the total soil organic carbon and provide an interface between the atmosphere and the mineral soil, representing an important linkage to aquatic systems.

The main challenge the specialists have sought to address is the lack of harmony that exists in classification keys for humus forms – they are different in every European country.

Those classification differences mean that data cannot be easily exchanged among research teams, land managers and policy makers working with soils in different countries.

The specialists’ aim is to improve the compatibility of those established national classification systems and to develop a unified European reference base for humus forms. The classification system is geared primarily to West European countries between 40-60 degrees of latitude, but it’s expected to work in other ecosystems of equivalent climate. It has already been successfully tested in some forests in Iran.

While aimed primarily at forest soils, the classification system is also applicable to grasslands, pastures and wetlands.

One of the keys to this standardization is to recognize differences in local ecosystems and the need to analyze the soil horizons – layers parallel to the soil surface, whose physical characteristics differ from the layers above and beneath – of each different humus form.

The European specialists have set up protocols for the assessment and sampling of certain horizons and have developed definitions for specific diagnostic horizons, materials and their designation.

Acceptance of this classification system will provide a valuable tool to help us better understand the connection between different humus forms and carbon storage in the soil and the response of soil organic matter to a warming climate.

To view the full report, go to: [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001670611100139X] (summarized as published article)
and [http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/56/17/95/PDF/Humus_Forms_ERB_31_01_2011.pdf] (unpublished complete document)

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Media Contact

Jean-Michel Carnus: +33-5-57122865 or jean-michel.carnus(at)pierroton.inra.fr
Gerda Wolfrum: +43 1 877 0151 17 or wolfrum(at)iufro.org

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Related Links

Publications:

IUFRO Division 8 – Forest Environment: http://www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-8/80000/
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Photo Credits

New Humus forms, in a structured dynamic system of classification. Photo provided by Augusto Zanella, Deputy Coordinator of IUFRO 8.02.03.

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IUFRO Spotlight #6 – Putting Experts to the Test

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Putting Experts to the Test

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By: Jurij Beguš, Coordinator, IUFRO 9.01.03 Extension and Knowledge Exchange
(Slovenia Forest Service, Department for Forestry Technique)

Expert knowledge – advice and-or recommendations from those who have spent much time researching and learning about a given subject area – is often used by resource managers who do not themselves have the time or resources to collect all the data necessary to make a sound decision.

That expert knowledge, which can be used in highly diverse situations in various ecosystems and geographical areas, can assist with forest management, eco- regionalization, species conservation or environmental impact assessment. Read more…

IUFRO Spotlight #5 – Forests: Medicine for Body and Soul

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Forests: Medicine for Body and Soul

By Hannu Raitio, Coordinator of IUFRO Task Force ForHealth
(DG Finnish Forest Research Institute, Metla)

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Imagine a doctor who, rather than advising the usual: “Take these pills daily for the next two weeks,” says instead: “Take long walks in the forest daily for the next two weeks. That should get you back to normal.”

Okay, that’s a bit fanciful. But, it may not be too big a stretch.

There is a growing body of scientific research that suggests forests and other natural, green settings can reduce stress, improve moods, curtail aggressiveness and – possibly – even strengthen our immune systems.

Medical and health care costs are a skyrocketing financial burden in many, if not all, countries around the world – often funded through taxation or other common responsibility arrangements. Read more…

IUFRO Spotlight #4: Forests: The Carbon Conundrum

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By Robert Jandl, Deputy Coordinator of IUFRO Division 8
(BFW, Austria)

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In the coming decades, forests will play a major role in our planet’s carbon cycle and in our efforts to manage the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Getting a better understanding of whether that role might be good (a sink, absorbing carbon) or bad (a source, adding carbon to the atmosphere), motivated a study by Yude Pan and colleagues, recently published in Science Express.

The study identifies global forests as the major terrestrial carbon sink (as opposed to grasslands, peatlands or agricultural lands). It is the first such study to base conclusions on forest inventory and land cover data instead of simulation results. Read more…

IUFRO Spotlight #3: The Montesclaros Declaration

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End trade in detrimental ornamentals to save forests

By Eckehard Brockerhoff, IUFRO Deputy Coordinator of Division 7
(SCION, New Zealand)

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In a provocative attempt to save the world’s forests, a group of 70-plus scientists from 17 countries are asking trade policy makers around the globe to phase out such international trade in high-risk plants that put forest health at high risk while offering limited economic benefit.

If the scientists’ proposal is implemented, it would mean an end to all international trade in containerized ornamental plant seedlings and trees intended as plants for instant landscape planting. Read more…

IUFRO Spotlight #2: Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge

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Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge: Sustaining Communities, Ecosystems and Biocultural Diversity

By Su See Lee, IUFRO Vice-President
(FRIM, Malaysia)

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A new book invites forest scientists to think outside the box – or, perhaps outside the laboratory – and make more of an effort to incorporate elements of traditional knowledge in their research and forest management activities.

The book, Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge: Sustaining Communities, Ecosystems and Biocultural Diversity, published by Springer just this month, takes a long look at the contribution traditional knowledge has made and continues to make to sustainable resource management around the world. Read more…

IUFRO Spotlight #1 – President’s Message

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Forest research matters. All of us under the IUFRO umbrella know that.
Research is what we, in our member organizations, do. It is who we are.

By Niels Elers Koch, President, IUFROIUFRO Spotlight
(Copenhagen University, Denmark)

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In addition to increasing our understanding of the world in which we live, there can be – and often are – important policy implications for our research findings. And we know very well that good sustainable forest management decisions can only be made based on sound science.

For that reason, IUFRO is embarking on a new initiative called IUFRO Spotlight to introduce timely, significant forest research findings from our member organizations to a worldwide network of policy makers, other decision makers and researchers. Read more…

2 New Volumes of the IUFRO World Series

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2 volumes of IUFRO’s World Series have just been newly published. The IUFRO World Series was designed to give IUFRO officeholders a possibility to make their expertise known to a larger public. In most cases, reports resulting from IUFRO meetings, IUFRO Task Force reports or results from the work of IUFRO Special Projects and Programmes are published in this series. The main focus is on original research devoted to specific themes either in the form of collected articles or as single extensive contributions.

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Volume 26: Traditional Forest Related Knowledge, Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Forest Management in Eastern Europe, Northern and Central Asia.
Andrey Laletin, John A. Parrotta, Ilya Domashov (editors). Vienna, 2011 – 78 p.

Forests and woodlands that are the traditional homes of local communities in Eastern Europe, Northern and Central Asia have historically been managed by these communities themselves, or more recently in collaboration with government agencies. Traditional forest-related knowledge (TFRK) and innovative forest management practices, developed over centuries, have contributed significantly to the natural and cultural heritage of the region, and sustained production of multiple goods and services that enhance livelihood security and quality of life for people. The conference provided a platform for sharing of information and exchanging experiences among scientists, the holders and users of traditional knowledge, non-governmental organizations, forest managers and other relevant stakeholders related to forest biodiversity and traditional forest-related knowledge. The conference highlighted the importance of traditional knowledge towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the objectives of the Rio Conventions, and its contributions to sustainable forest management.

For more information visit: http://www.iufro.org/publications/series/world-series/#c16553

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Volume 29:  Asia and the Pacific Symposium – Vulnerability Assessments to Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards
Editors: Antonio M. Daño, Karen Rae M. Fortus, Sim Heok-Choh. Kuala Lumpur, 2011 – 95 p.

In December 2010, a symposium was held in Manila, the Philippines, to lo0k at the vulnerability of ecosystems to natural and anthropogenic hazards and how best to assess it. The main objective of the symposium was to enhance the capability and capacity of participants in conducting vulnerability assessment of various ecosystems. It served as a venue for exchange of knowledge and initiatives in vulnerability assessment. The symposium was also expected to come up with output materials that will be useful in preparing appropriate programmes/projects to deal with the inherent biophysical and socioinstitutional characteristics of ecosystems and the stressors of the resources including the impacts of climate change.

Learn more about this publication at http://www.iufro.org/publications/series/world-series/#c18479

IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations