Spotlight #23 – Eucalyptus genome successfully sequenced


Eucalyptus genome successfully sequenced

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Professor Zander Myburg of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in front of Eucalypt trees. Photo by Photowise.

Professor Zander Myburg of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in front of Eucalypt trees. Photo by Photowise.

With a result that offers major potential for the forest industry, an international team of researchers has successfully sequenced and analyzed the genome of Eucalyptus grandis.

“Now that we understand which genes determine specific characteristics in these trees, we will be able to breed trees that grow faster, have higher quality wood and use water and land more efficiently,” said the lead investigator on the project, Prof. Zander Myburg of the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

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Congress Spotlight #22 – Green cities: The benefits of the urban forest


Green cities: The benefits of the urban forest

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Experiencing the floodplain forests of the city of Leipzig, Germany, from the river (photo by Matilda Annerstedt)

Experiencing the floodplain forests of the city of Leipzig, Germany, from the river (photo by Matilda Annerstedt)

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.

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Congress Spotlight #21 – The forest pharmacy and food store


The forest pharmacy and food store


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Forest berries (Petr Kratochvil)

Forest berries (Petr Kratochvil)

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.

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Congress Spotlight #20 – The climate’s changing: So should forest management


The climate’s changing: So should forest management


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In Berlin, the capital city of Germany, a comprehensive program of converting pine stands into close-to-nature mixed forest is being implemented, thus making the forest more resilient to future climate change effects, for example. (Photo by IUFRO)

In Berlin, the capital city of Germany, a comprehensive program of converting pine stands into close-to-nature mixed forest is being implemented, thus making the forest more resilient to future climate change effects, for example. (Photo by IUFRO)

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.

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Congress Spotlight #19 – ‘Citizen science’: A way to fight invasive species?


‘Citizen science’: A way to fight invasive species?


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At Shelley Beach, a few miles North of San Francisco, tanoaks and oaks, the most sacred trees to native people of the Northern California coast, have been decimated due to the exotic disease known as Sudden Oak Death (SOD). SOD is thus not only changing the landscape dynamics but also profoundly altering the local culture. (Photo by Matteo Garbelotto)

At Shelley Beach, a few miles North of San Francisco, tanoaks and oaks, the most sacred trees to native people of the Northern California coast, have been decimated due to the exotic disease known as Sudden Oak Death (SOD). SOD is thus not only changing the landscape dynamics but also profoundly altering the local culture. (Photo by Matteo Garbelotto)

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.

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Congress Spotlight #18 – Consumers and Industry: Keen on Green


Consumers and Industry: Keen on Green


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Looking toward the future is enough to make you, ahem, “turn green” with envy.

© beermedia – Fotolia.com

© beermedia – Fotolia.com

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.

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Congress Spotlight #17 – Forest outlook: What does the future hold?


Forest outlook: What does the future hold?


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Logs being moved by sea to a sawmill. Major changes in the patterns of demand for logs may result in them being processed in a different country to where they were harvested. (Photo by John Innes)

Logs being moved by sea to a sawmill. Major changes in the patterns of demand for logs may result in them being processed in a different country to where they were harvested. (Photo by John Innes)

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.

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Can REDD+ Achieve Conservation, Livelihoods and Climate Change Mitigation Goals?


By John Parrotta (Deputy Coordinator, IUFRO Division 8
) and Lawal Marafa (Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee)

Dealing with uncertainties

"Adopting REDD+" conference (Photo by Lawal Marafa)

“Adopting REDD+” conference (Photo by Lawal Marafa)

REDD+ (reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries) is an evolving mechanism for climate change mitigation under continued debate within and outside of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While it has the potential to realize its primary climate change mitigation objective, there is considerable uncertainty regarding its actual or potential impacts on biodiversity, forests and the livelihoods of people in the tropical and sub-tropical forested landscapes where REDD+ implementation is envisaged.

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Bringing science to the people

How IUFRO’s Special Programme for Development of Capacities (SPDC) contributes to enhancing forest science communication within the framework of a Climate Change Adaptation Program in Bhutan.

Photo by András Darabant, BOKU, Austria

Photo by András Darabant, BOKU, Austria

Would you like to see your forest be wrapped up in plastic?  Well, this is what Bhutanese society will witness due to a research project that aims at simulating drought, which may affect the region’s forests in the future as a result of climate change.  In order to inflict drought stress on mature trees, entire research plots of considerable size have been covered with plastic roofs in about 2 m height above ground level, preventing rain water from reaching the soil and roots of trees.  But would local people show understanding for such a measure and approve of it easily?

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IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations