Tackling the Complex Relationship Between Forests and Society

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Interview with IUFRO Division 9 Coordinator Daniela Kleinschmit

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Daniela Kleinschmit is Coordinator of IUFRO Division 9 “Forest Policy and Economics”. She is heading the unit on forest policy research at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

Photo provided by Daniela Kleinschmit

Q: Dr. Kleinschmit, how did you get involved in IUFRO and in how far has your work and career in IUFRO been beneficial for your scientific endeavors?

A.: I got involved in IUFRO about 12 years ago thanks to the supervisor of my PhD thesis, Max Krott. My first IUFRO conference was the World Congress in Kuala Lumpur in 2000. It was fascinating to meet peers from all over the world and exchange ideas, experiences and knowledge. Personal contacts are particularly helpful for developing transnational research projects and writing or organizing publications such as special issues of journals. In addition, a network like IUFRO helps to raise awareness for new triggering questions. Read more…

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…

IUFRO’s Strength Lies at the Grass Roots

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Professor Mike Wingfield, IUFRO Vice-President for Divsions

Interview with Michael Wingfield, IUFRO Vice-President for Divisions

Q.: Professor Wingfield, as Director of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute FABI (see IUFRO Featured Members Section: http://www.iufro.org/featured-member-of-the-month/article/2011/09/22/forestry-and-agricultural-biotechnology-institute-fabi/) based at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, you are at the forefront of forest research. What are the major challenges underpinning successful forest research today?

I have the privilege to lead a very exciting research institute that has a strong focus on various aspects of forestry genetics, biotechnology and tree health.  What I think is important to recognize is that forestry is an incredibly broad discipline and the forefront of research in forestry stretches across the biological and natural sciences, engineering and the social sciences.  In this respect, it is difficult to clearly define forest research, let alone understand the forefronts of research in this field. 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

Interview with Dr. Su See Lee, IUFRO Vice-President for Task Forces, Special Programmes, Projects and IUFRO-led Initiatives

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IUFRO Vice-President Su See Lee

Q: Dr. Lee, you are a senior scientist with the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) specialized in forest pathology. Why did you choose a career in forest science in the first place? 

A: I have always been interested in biology and decided to specialize in botany for my first degree at the University of Malaya. That led me to my first job as a tutor at the Faculty of Forestry, Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM) with the opportunity to also pursue my Masters degree at that university. UPM subsequently appointed me as a lecturer in the faculty to teach and conduct research mainly in forest pathology.

A grant from the International Foundation for Science (IFS) started me off on my first research project on dipterocarp mycorrhizas which sparked off my interest to pursue my Ph.D. at the University of Aberdeen. From then on, I was totally hooked on unraveling the many unknowns in tropical forest biology, in particular, the intricate and complicated relationships between fungi and trees. In 1990 when the chance came to take up a full-time research position at FRIM, I decided to switch from academia to full-time research and have since been enjoying conducting research into diseases of tropical forest trees, dipterocarp ectomycorrhizas, macrofungal diversity and also ethnomycology. Read more…

IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations