Spotlight #31 – Eschew obfuscation! Um, wait. Let me rephrase that…

Eschew obfuscation! Um, wait. Let me rephrase that…

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spotlight31-pencilsDisseminating forest research results beyond the research community to policy makers, decision makers, forest managers, other forest stakeholders and in some instances, to the public, is important.

We all know that.

Those research findings can be used to contribute to the sustainable management of forests, to the health and wellbeing of forest ecosystems and, on a grand scale, to the overall health of our planet and the organisms – including humans – that exist here. (And, from a researcher’s self-interest perspective, the more people who understand the importance of the research, the more potential for continued funding.) Read more…

Spotlight #30 – Forests: Food for thought – and nourishment

Forests: Food for thought – and nourishment

 

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Cashew nuts, Brazil (photo by PJ Stephenson)

Cashew nuts, Brazil (photo by PJ Stephenson)

A report that analyses the complicated, intertwined and often oppositional philosophies, land uses and governance regimes that comprise the forest-food nexus, will help inform deliberations as the United Nations Forum on Forests develops a 15-year roadmap for international forest policy.

At the heart of the new report is the understanding that forests and trees cannot, by themselves, replace the role of agriculture, but they are critically important to food security and nutrition.

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Enhancing forest-related development: Community and smallholder forestry in the nexus of markets, policy, and implementation

Traditional landscapes

Traditional landscapes (FAO Photo ref FO-0072)

Forests hold the potential to contribute to sustainable local development in many regions of the world. For this potential to be realized, rural dwellers need to have access to healthy forests, need to be linked to markets, and hold capacities to actively engage in forest product value chains. This requires an enabling legal environment and supportive policies. For the last two decades, considerable efforts and investment have been devoted to improve these enabling conditions in many locations and at different scales. Even so, in many places in the world where a forestry development potential may exist, deforestation and forest degradation, unfavourable legal environments and policies and competition with better endowed or politically well-connected entrepreneurs prevail. Read more…

Spotlight #29 – Supersites for Superior Forest Science

Supersites for Superior Forest Science

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The initiative for establishing Supersites for forest research is only a few years old.

In these supersites, sophisticated, state-of-the-art instruments are used and a multitude of factors in the ecosystem is to be measured to obtain baseline data. As examples: spectrometers will measure how trees absorb and scatter light; laser scanners will map the forest’s three-dimensional structure; soil, plant and atmospheric sciences will be integrated; and mechanistic and policy-oriented modeling will be part of the concept. Read more…

Lessons from a global perspective on tree health

wingfield-125Professor Michael J Wingfield, President of IUFRO and Director of the Forestry & Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria gives an insight on his forthcoming presentation at 2015 ICF National Conference: Tree health, resilience and sustainability.

Natural forests and plantations of forest trees are increasingly threatened by insect pests and pathogens. Broadly speaking, native trees in forests are most seriously threatened. Once a serious disease cause by a pest, pathogen or a combination of these factors in symbiosis, there is little that can be done to offset the problem. Classic examples are found in Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight. Read more…

Congress Spotlight #28: American Indian forestry: blending science and tradition


American Indian forestry: blending science and tradition

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Prescribed fire used by the Tribes for centuries (Flathead Indian Reservation managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes). Photo by IFMAT-III

Prescribed fire used by the Tribes for centuries (Flathead Indian Reservation managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes). Photo by IFMAT-III

For thousands of years, American Indians have been managing the forests in which they live.

Today, with trained professionals who are tribal members, their forests are managed with modern tools and methods; include manufacturing facilities and address global forest issues such as climate change, forest certification, carbon sequestration and a changing work force.

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Spotlight #27 – Genes the means to screen future forest scene


Genes the means to screen future forest scene

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Women caring for tree seedlings in a nursery in Niger. Credit: Bioversity International/L. Snook

Women caring for tree seedlings in a nursery in Niger. Credit: Bioversity International/L. Snook

Forest ecosystem restoration is a critical component in tackling climate change, combatting biodiversity loss and desertification, and for providing products and services that support livelihoods at a local level.

For those reasons, restoring and rehabilitating forests and degraded lands will be one of the major environmental challenges of this century.

But, as a recent thematic study coordinated by Bioversity International, a IUFRO Member Organization, for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – Genetic Considerations in Ecosystem Restoration Using Native Tree Species – notes, there is more to forest restoration than simply planting trees.

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Congress Spotlight #26: To manage forests sustainably – think synergy


To manage forests sustainably – think synergy

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spotlight26-sustainability-synergyA comprehensive study of the conditions that assist sustainable forest development will be published at the upcoming IUFRO World Congress this fall in Salt Lake City, USA.

The title of the publication, produced by the IUFRO Special Project on World Forests, Society and Environment (IUFRO-WFSE), is Forests Under Pressure – Local Responses to Global Issues.

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Spotlight #25 – Mixed species growth predictions made easy – well, easier


Mixed species growth predictions made easy – well, easier


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Measuring transpiration by collecting sap flow data from a Eucalyptus globulus tree that is growing in a mixed species plantation with Acacia mearnsii. This will be used to understand the processes driving species interactions in these mixtures. (Photo by David Forrester; Cann River, Australia)

Measuring transpiration by collecting sap flow data from a Eucalyptus globulus tree that is growing in a mixed species plantation with Acacia mearnsii. This will be used to understand the processes driving species interactions in these mixtures. (Photo by David Forrester; Cann River, Australia)

A recent study indicates why it is difficult to predict how mixed-species forests or plantations will grow, but makes those predictions easier by discussing the processes that drive changes over space and time in species interactions.

Since tree species mixtures are regarded as one of the most important approaches to reduce the risks to forests posed by global change, the study’s conclusions will be of interest to forest managers or policy makers using mixed-species forests or plantations.

Entitled The spatial and temporal dynamics of species interactions in mixed-species: From pattern to process, the study is by Dr. David Forrester, Chair of Silviculture, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Freiburg University.

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Congress Spotlight #24 – Got a question? Biomass may be the answer


Got a question? Biomass may be the answer

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By selecting proper species and breeding experiments as well as genetic modifications as done here in Thailand, fast growing species plantations are capable of producing enormous amounts of biomass within short periods of time. The challenge is, however, to sustain soil fertility, biodiversity and other ecosystem services such as clean water. (Photo by Victor Bruckman)

By selecting proper species and breeding experiments as well as genetic modifications as done here in Thailand, fast growing species plantations are capable of producing enormous amounts of biomass within short periods of time. The challenge is, however, to sustain soil fertility, biodiversity and other ecosystem services such as clean water. (Photo by Viktor Bruckman)

It’s just possible that sustainable biomass could be, if not a panacea for the world’s energy challenges, then perhaps the next best thing.

And not only the energy sector would benefit. The reasons for the sustainable use of biomass are many and good, says Dr Viktor Bruckman of the Commission for Interdisciplinary Ecological Studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

In addition to the energy aspect, he adds that biomass offers a range of possibilities as a valuable feedstock for industrial processes. Chemical compounds in biomass can be separated and rearranged to produce everything from composites for use in the automobile industry, to fibres to pesticide ingredients, among others.

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IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations