Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

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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Spotlight #15 – Planted forests’ roles: Different strokes for different oaks


Planted forests’ roles: Different strokes for different oaks


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Maritime pine in its early stages of plantation (photo by Stephanie Hayes, EFIATLANTIC)

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.

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A changing forest sector: Globalization triggers bio-economy and the search for new business opportunities

Logging operations in Northwest British Columbia, Canada (Photo by John Innes)

Logging operations in Northwest British Columbia, Canada (Photo by John Innes)

Scientists, practitioners and decision-makers from around the world meet in Vancouver, Canada from 27 to 30 August 2013 to discuss the implications of globalization on forests and their management.

PDF of Press Release for download

(Vancouver/Vienna, 27 August 2013) Globalization is changing forests and the forest sector. Increases in international trade and investments have altered the global business environment for forestry. The growing world population moving towards nine billion by 2050, economic growth, rising resources demand and increasing environmental concerns are other drivers fostering transformation in forestry and the management of forests. New players enter the global market, and the bio-economy –– the production of ‘green’ products from renewable resources –– is gaining weight. From 27 to 30 August 2013, more than 100 representatives from research, industry and government will discuss how global trends influence forest resources, and how new opportunities for forest entrepreneurs and a more resource efficient society can be harnessed. The Conference has been organized by the University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Forestry, on behalf of the Task Force “Resources for the Future” of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).

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IUFRO Spotlight #14 – Wildfire projected to spread like, well, wildfire


Wildfire projected to spread like, well, wildfire


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Boreal wildfire, Saskatchewan, Canada (Photo by Bill de Groot, Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service)

Boreal wildfire, Saskatchewan, Canada (Photo by Bill de Groot, Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service)

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.

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IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: International Forest Governance

International forest governance and its influence on the convergence of forest policy in Latin America

For more information on the IUFRO Task Force on International Forest Governance, visit: http://www.iufro.org/science/task-forces/intl-forest-governance/

Globally, great strides have been made in the last 20 years as to what constitutes responsible forest governance. Yet, frustrations exist at the scale and pace of change. In Latin America, there continues to be a notable gap between ‘rules on paper’ and ‘rules in use’ in most countries, and governance tends to remain firmly based in ‘command-and-control’ approaches established decades ago.

In the session entitled “International Forest Governance and its influence on the convergence of forest policy in Latin America”, leading scholars in this field discussed what political science can do to improve international forest governance in the region through a mix of existing and emerging environmental policy instruments.

Reported cases of “carbon cowboys” deriving indigenous communities from intended benefits from REDD+ have created mistrust and infighting and have raised questions about the usefulness of market-based approaches to environmental problems such as climate change. Yet, the political scientists concluded that – if well designed – market-based instruments such as forest certification or payments for environmental services can help deliver effective policy outcomes. Costa Rica can be cited as a positive example on how new forms and modes of governance have successfully been incorporate into forest policy.

The session also discussed the newly emerging discourse on “rights of nature” in which nature is treated as a ‘subject’ rather than an ‘object’ in environmental legislation. While the notion of collective property rights reflected in this new approach can be seen as a more ethical approach to natural resources, it may however also be motivated by more mundane considerations, such as the intention to bargain for increased financial support from the international community.

Overall, the examples presented in the session indicated the need to incorporate new forms and modes of governance into forest and environmental policy in Latin America. If well-designed, instruments such as legality verification can help form large coalitions of actors and can trigger a “ratchet up” towards better forestry standards in the region.

Presentations in this session:

Policies for promoting sustainable forest management: Convergence of domestic policies and instrument mixes across Latin America (Kathleen McGinley, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USA)

Carbon cowboys: case studies from Peru (Wil De Jong, Kyoto University Japan)

International forest governance and the rights of nature discourse in South America (David Humphries, UK)

Adaptation of tropical forest management in climate change (Rod Keenan, University of Melbourne, Australia)

Agroforestal systems as an alternative to coca crops in the Chapare region of Bolivia (Eduardo Lopez Rosse, UMSS, Department of Natural Resources, Bolivia)

Factors driving botanical tree diversity in agroforestry systems in Central America (Jenny Ordonez)

IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: Threats to Forest Health

Threats to Forest Health – Forest Pests and Diseases, Biological Invasions, Air Pollution and Climate Change

For more information on IUFRO Division 7 Forest Health: http://www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-7/

The papers presented in this session addressed the relationship between changing climatic conditions and biotic factors such as bark beetles and wasps causing forest health problems of various degrees.

One paper highlighted present and projected changes caused by interactive impacts of increasing temperatures, ground-level ozone, nitrogen deposition, and CO2 on forests growth and soil and water processes in south-western  and northern forests in the United  States. These changes may predispose forests to altered water regimes, biodiversity insect attacks, wind-throw, frost damage and catastrophic fires.

Other presentations highlighted the effects of insects on forests in Northern and Central America. Generally, the number of severe outbreaks is increasing, but little is known about the causes of these calamities. Recent research clearly indicates, however, that several earlier benign insect species show damaging outbreaks because of increased stress on the ecosystem. Range expansions of e.g. bark beetle could also be observed and appear to be closely linked to changing climatic conditions.

A cost-benefit analysis of surveillance of ash borer population which is rapidly spreading in many regions due to international trade is worthwhile and cost-effective. Using bio-economic modeling on surveillance trapping helps to optimize surveillance and eradication programs. Given the increasing frequency and severity of insect outbreaks in Northern America continuous surveillance of invasive wood borers and bark beetles is also recommended for Latin America.

Presentations in this session:

Interactive effects of air pollution and climate change on forests in the United States (Andrzej Bytnerowicz, USDA Forest Service, USA)

Sirex noctilio in Argentina: What we know and still need to know to manage populations successfully (Juan Corley, Argentina)

A cost-benefit analysis of surveillance for invasive wood borers and bark beetles (Eckehard Brockerhoff, IUFRO Division 7 Coordinator, Scion, New Zealand)

Evaluation of mortality in natural stands of Pinus ocarpa an P. caribeae in Nicaragua (Lori Eckhart, Auburn University, USA)

The bark beetle outbreaks of Western North America (Christopher Fettig, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USA)

Second Session: Threats to Forest Health: Forest Pests and Diseases, Biological Invasions, Air Pollution and Climate Change

The main focus of the session was the impact of invasive species on forests and solutions for tackling these problems.  Examples were given from different countries and continents including the US, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand.  Solutions are various and obviously depend on the respective case.

Common issues related to globalization and its impact on forest health were raised by all speakers. Live plant material, including seeds, have been implicated in many cases as pathways for invasions of alien pests and pathogens of forest trees and other plants. Solving this problem is difficult because many plants may be asymptomatic and infected plants may thus be difficult to exclude. Answering specific research questions, such as what type of organisms invade from where and related aspects, are required to allow informed decision-making. These are complex problems that require application of newest technologies and also require broad international collaboration.

Actions taken for integrated pest management include education of students, companies, pupils; communication with all stakeholders and the inclusion of locals in monitoring activities. Last but not least, training, early research including close collaboration and teamwork, the maintenance of quarantine facilities are keys to success.

It was recognized that in many countries, there is not good communication between forestry researchers and plant quarantine agencies that hold the responsibility for solving these problems.  The group also concluded that the problem of biological invasions is perhaps not adequately recognized by the forestry research community, including within IUFRO. This suggests that there remains a need to educate the broader research community on the importance of this issue.

Presentations in this session:

Invasions by non-indigenous forest insects and diseases in the US (Andrew Liebhold, US Forest Service, USA)

Continuing spread of plantation pests and pathogens – is there a solution? (Jolanda Roux, University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Advances in IPM of a key pest of poplars in Argentina, Megaplatypus mutates (Mariana Moya, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Successful forest protection is a multifaceted endeavour (Tod Ramsfield, Natural Resources Canada)

IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations