IUFRO Podcast – Interview with IUFRO-WFSE project coordinator Gerardo Mery

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In this IUFRO podcast episode, Tarun Bathija interviews Gerardo Mery who is the project coordinator of one of IUFRO’s Special Project – World Forests, Society and Environment. During the interview, Gerardo provides you with an in-depth introduction and explanation to IUFRO-WFSE’s history, the books that have been published and in which manner he believes the project contributes to today’s world.

We hope that you enjoy listening to this new episode!

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Taking Forestry “Uptown”

Forestry is moving out of the country and into the cities.

 

 

 

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“More than half the world’s population now lives in cities and towns and more forests are coming under urban influence. As foresters we’d better make sure we’re prepared to work in urban settings,” says Professor Cecil Konijnendijk of the University of Copenhagen.

Urban forests, in addition to making cities more attractive, promote human health and well-being, sequester carbon, filter pollutants from the air, provide shade, reduce wind and flooding, improve urban microclimates and protect urban drinking water resources.

“Urban forests and trees are part of the solution to some of the big issues of the day,” he says. “Think climate change, where urban vegetation can help cities adapt to higher temperatures, freak weather occurrences and the like; or trees producing food to help ease shortages in some developing countries.

“But,” says Professor Konijnendijk, who will coordinate a session on promoting urban forest partnerships between scientists and communities at the 2010 IUFRO World Forestry Congress in Seoul, “we still lack knowledge about how trees grow in urban settings and what their optimum contributions are or can be in terms of the goods and services they provide.

“We need to find how to protect, design and develop them in a better way. We, as scientists, have to collaborate closely with those who plan and manage our urban forests,” he says.

Bushmeat: Beyond the Ecological Crisis

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(Vienna, 15 February 2010) – Contemporary African societies are a mix of modernized, western society and traditional African roots. Those traditions mean that people – rural and urban – still consume bushmeat for reasons linked to culture, taste and attachment to healthy, natural products.

However, the scale of hunting occurring in Central Africa poses a threat to many tropical forest species. The response to this has typically been legal: ban the trade in bushmeat and criminalize the hunters and consumers.

This, said Nathalie Van Vliet, Bushmeat strategic advisor for TRAFFIC, has not been terribly effective. The trade continues to flourish but in a hidden economy that makes it more difficult to manage or control.

Those in the bushmeat trade who make money out of the commercialisation of rare species for the urban markets need to be strictly controlled. However, those who eat bushmeat for their own nutrition or sell bushmeat to pay for medicines or school fees, should not be presented as criminals,” she says.

Dr. Van Vliet will coordinate a session dealing with the hunting of bushmeat in Central Africa at the 2010 IUFRO World Congress in Seoul.

She hopes her session will reach beyond conservationists to also integrate the input of social, health and economic stakeholders to help develop more integrated bushmeat strategies and policies.

IUFRO Podcast – An interview with GFIS coordinator Eero Mikkola

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This podcast is an introduction to the Global Forest Information Service (GFIS) by Eero Mikkola (project coordinator). He explains to us how GFIS works, what the future plans for development are and what is important for you to know!

Enjoy your listening!

Your Internet Gateway to Forest Information Resources – GFIS

The Global Forest Information Service (GFIS) provides the framework to share forest-related information through a single gateway at www.gfis.net. It promotes the dissemination and sharing of forest and tree-related information and knowledge among the global forestry community by developing common information exchange standards, building capacity and enhancing partnerships among forestry information providers and users. Read more…

Full-Service Forests: Food, Pharmaceuticals & Fibre

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Managing for wildlife habitat, soil stability, water, medicinal plants and foods – nuts, berries, and mushrooms – as well as timber resources, are now all part of most forest development plans and goals.

Today’s forest management looks toward sustaining a variety of resources as well as revenue from timber products. That’s at least partly because “a diversity of plant and animal species can improve the ability of a stand to survive under dramatic changes in environmental conditions including climate change,” says Dr. Valerie LeMay, Professor of Forest Biometrics and Measurements at Canada’s University of British Columbia.

It’s a change from the past when forests were managed primarily for timber resources. Today’s forest managers realize that even the structure of a stand – the variation in tree heights, diameters, location and species and the number of dead trees standing or lying in it – is an important aspect of managing for multiple benefits, she said.

Large gaps in a tree stand, for instance, provide light for new tree growth, but also for grasses, herbs, shrubs and other vegetation that often provide food for deer and other wildlife.

The question though, is how best to manage all this? Dr. LeMay and Dr. Peter Newton, Research Scientist at Natural Resources Canada, will coordinate a session that deals with managing and measuring stand structure for a diverse array of forest products at the 2010 IUFRO World Congress in Seoul.

Climate Change Adds to Forest Threat

Only healthy forests can provide many important services upon which we rely – air quality and water cycle regulation; biodiversity and soil protection; carbon sequestration and mitigation of climate change, and social and cultural value.

Forest health has long been threatened by insect pests and diseases accidentally moved to new areas. More recently, climate change has become one of the greatest threats to forest and tree health, says Elena Paoletti, senior scientist at the Institute for Plant Protection of the National Council of Research of Italy. She adds “Climate change and air pollution pose new threats to forests and change their ability to tolerate stressors.”

Historically, climatic extremes, air pollution, insects and disease have been the main factors adversely affecting forest health. Understanding how these stress agents are affected by, and respond to climatic change is fundamental to our efforts to mitigate the impacts of a changing environment. Adaptive forest strategies must be developed.

She notes that, among other issues, climate change is resulting in the expansion of distribution ranges of some insect pests and pathogens. These range shifts have the potential to be permanent and to have significant implications on the future health of the world’s forests.

Dr. Paoletti will coordinate a sub-plenary session at the 2010 IUFRO World Congress in Seoul. The aim will be to update forest scientists and managers regarding new breakthroughs in the field of forest tree health and especially to better understand the multi-faceted aspects of climate change.

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Expert Panel on International Forest Regime (GFEP)

Posted by theiufroblog in Event, Publications No Comments

25 political scientists met in Vienna last week to start drafting the most comprehensive scientific report on the international forest regime. The report will be officially published in January 2011 on the occasion of the 9th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests.

More specifically, the assessment aims to contribute to

  • the international forest deliberations and international  forest-related processes such as the ninth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (January  2011), the tenth Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (October 2010), and the discussion on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD);
  • the improvement of coordination among political actors, policy instruments and institutions;
  • the International Year of Forests 2011 by raising awareness about the role of international instruments and institutions affecting forests.

PHOTOS FROM THE FIRST MEETING

Trees: A Low-Cost Climate Mitigation Tool

 

 

2nd in a series of releases relating to the XXIII IUFRO World Congress

(Vienna, 21 December 2009) – The forest sector has huge potential to mitigate the effects of climate change at low costs. The reason is that trees provide one proven way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

That opportunity makes it critically important to understand exactly which forest-related activities can contribute to mitigation benefits. Such understanding will then lead to a science-based dialogue about which activities contribute to climate change mitigation and which may make it worse. That will then lead to tools to support informed, responsible policy development.

“Reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation is the most important first step, because it has an immediate impact,” says Dr. Werner Kurz, of the Canadian Forest Service, who notes that in the ‘90s, deforestation emissions globally were found to contribute an amount equivalent to about 20% of fossil fuel emissions.

Dr. Kurz, who will coordinate a session to explore the potential of forest sector activities to mitigate climate change at the 2010 IUFRO World Forestry Congress in Seoul, adds: “Biomass derived from forests contributes to meeting society’s demands for timber, fibre and energy. But further analyses are needed to help identify and implement the climate mitigation activities that deliver the greatest climate mitigation benefits.”

The issues are challenging and will foster lively, heated, discussion. As an example, some argue for conservation – keep the carbon in the forest because today’s carbon is what matters in the atmosphere. Others argue, among other things, using harvested biomass to store carbon in wood products and to use biomass from harvest residues or bioenergy plantations as sources of bioenergy to substitute for fossil fuels. To design an effective climate mitigation portfolio, carbon costs and benefits and their dynamics must be quantified over time, Kurz says.

IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations