Green cities: The benefits of the urban forest
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.
The forest pharmacy and food store
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.
The climate’s changing: So should forest management
As a joke, people used to say: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute. It’ll change.”
Now they say that about the climate – but they’re a lot more serious.
The rapidly changing climate will precipitate related changes throughout nature. And that includes the world’s forests.
Anticipating climate change impacts on forests and adapting policies and management strategies to mitigate those impacts is critical to maintain the health of those forests and, by extension, of the earth.
“Forest management for adaptation to climate change” is the theme of a session being presented at the 24th IUFRO World Congress in Salt Lake City this fall, by Drs. Rodney Keenan of the University of Melbourne, Australia; Carina Keskitalo of Umeå University, Sweden; Kalame Fobissie of the World Wildlife Fund Central Africa, Cameroon; and Guangyu Wang of the University of British Columbia, Canada.
‘Citizen science’: A way to fight invasive species?
Invasive species are a threat to forest ecosystems around the world.
No surprise there.
Thousands of invasive flora and fauna have been transported – sometimes by accident, sometimes by design – to different continents and countries. Very often their impact is detrimental to their new region.
But, usually when one thinks of the negative impacts of invasive species, top of mind would be the effect on the economy – for instance, phytophthora dieback, an Asian import, affects the economically important jarrah tree in Australia. Or perhaps one would think of environmental damage, such as the destructive swath cut through the forests of Tierra del Fuego by imported North American beaver, to give just two illustrations of unwanted economic/environmental results.
Consumers and Industry: Keen on Green
Looking toward the future is enough to make you, ahem, “turn green” with envy.
It’s all about a greener future.
That future and, more specifically, how it relates to the world’s forests will be one of many subjects discussed at the XXIV IUFRO World Congress in Salt Lake City, Utah, this fall.
A session there, entitled Forests and Forest Products for a Greener Future will look at how business and marketing will contribute to that goal.
Organized by Eric Hansen of Oregon State University, Tom Hammett of Virginia Tech and Birger Solberg of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, it will cover a wide range of business and marketing theory topics that address how products and markets (timber and non-timber) can be expected to contribute to the greening effect.
Forest outlook: What does the future hold?
Forest researchers from around the world will gather at the IUFRO 24th World Congress in Salt Lake City this fall where one of the issues will be to address the future, and the related challenges, facing forests and forest management in the 21st century.
Providing a sort of scientific crystal ball to give glimpses into the years ahead and discuss how to meet and adapt to coming challenges will be a sub-plenary session at the congress entitled, appropriately enough, “The Future of Our Forests”.
Resources for the Future (http://www.iufro.org/science/task-forces/resources-for-future/), the IUFRO Task Force behind this session, has set out to examine four major game-changers – globalization, plantations, new products and forest ecosystem services – and what they mean, and will mean, for forests, forest research and forest-dependent communities.
You’ve got an issue? We’ve got options.
Over the last 30 years practitioners and scholars have been dealing with a range of interventions designed to improve global forest management. These included criteria and indicators (C&I), forest certification and, more recently, legality verification and REDD+, to name but a few.
Despite these well intended efforts, frustration exists about their impacts on the ground when addressing deforestation, forest degradation, carbon emissions, and improving the livelihoods of forest dependent people.
Often, potentially transformative interventions are “abandoned” prematurely and replaced by new interventions as stakeholders “learn” about limited results on the ground.
How might learning be developed that might help nurture enduring institutions capable of addressing such thorny challenges?
Planted forests’ roles: Different strokes for different oaks
Planted forests are vital but vulnerable resources that can contribute in a sustainable fashion to some of humanity’s most pressing needs – poverty alleviation, food security, renewable energy, mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, and biodiversity conservation – as well as the preservation of natural forests.
These are among the findings in the recently published Summary Report of the 3rd International Congress on Planted Forests. It is based on outcomes from three scientific workshops and a plenary meeting that took place earlier this year.
Thirty-three countries have greater than 1 million hectares of planted forest area. Together these countries comprise 90% of the world’s 264 million hectares of planted forest which, in turn, equals almost 7% of the total global forest area. The report takes into account key research findings from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, Latin America and North America related to vulnerability, viability and governance of planted forests.
Wildfire projected to spread like, well, wildfire
A recently published study: Global Wildland Fire Season Severity in the 21st Century, indicates that in coming decades, conventional approaches to wildfire management may no longer be effective.
It appears in a Forest Ecology and Management journal special issue entitled The Mega-fire reality, published by Elsevier. The study is a first global review that shows the extent of the increasing length of the fire season and the increasing fire weather severity.
Urban Park Perks’ Research Rounded Up & Rated
Green areas and parks provide many benefits to urban spaces. That’s what people have said for years – but without an awful lot of evidence to back it up.
Now there is an evidence-based report, Benefits of Urban Parks: A systematic review, offering some support to that assertion.
The recent study, one the authors believe is a first-of-its-kind, draws conclusions based on green space related research published in a number of top-level scientific publications.
It offers a comprehensive and critical assessment that evaluates the strength of the evidence supporting a series of park benefits. Read more…