Posts Tagged ‘forest restoration’

IUFRO Spotlight #86 – Analyzing the complicated forest-water relationship

IUFRO Spotlight #86 – Analyzing the complicated forest-water relationship

PDF for download

Riparian vegetation and landscape in Mongolia, a country where freshwater resources are scarce – Photo by Alexander Buck, IUFRO

More than 500 years ago Leonardo da Vinci said: “Water is the driving force of all nature.”

There is a corollary that could easily be added to da Vinci’s truism: Water is greatly aided and abetted in that role by forests.

Forests play an integral role in the water cycle by enhancing the world’s supply of clean water. Much of the globe’s freshwater is provided through forested catchments.

Forests protect water quality, flow regimes, aquatic systems, soil and have critical interactions with climate.

Any forest changes, whether through nature or through human action, can significantly affect water resources and water-related ecological functions and services, often in a negative fashion.

A recent global assessment on forests and water demonstrated that forests, water and climate should all be assessed and managed in an integrated way at all spatial and temporal scales.

The assessment also identified critical research gaps among which forests/forest carbon, climate and water interactions and their effects on forest water use, water supply and flow regime were seen as among the top emerging priorities.

One result of that assessment has been a IUFRO Task Force (TF): Forests and Water Interactions in a Changing Environment, organized to focus specifically on those research gaps.

“The relationship between forests and water is complicated,” said Dr. Adam Wei of the Department of Earth, Environmental and Geographic Science at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and coordinator of the TF.

“There are large variations in the forest-water relationship due to the interactions and feedbacks of climate, forests and watershed properties. In addition, the relationship is not only about science, but also about cultures, policy and governance. What all that means is that we need a systematic approach to look at all the interactions effectively.

“Fortunately, in our TF we have a good, mixed pool of expertise from all continents – world-leading scientists in their respective fields – and we include some experts from the social sciences and policy areas.”

The TF will examine interactions and feedbacks of forests and water in a broad context that will consider impacts of – and on – climate, variability and change, as well as emerging climate change mitigation strategies, markets and adaptive forest and water management.

“Climate change,” said Prof. Richard Harper, from Australia’s Murdoch University and a deputy coordinator of the TF, “is a significant issue. Not only does it directly affect water supplies, but it also indirectly influences water by its impact on forests through disturbance such as wildfire, drought and mortality.

“To address climate change impacts and sequester more carbon in forests, large-scale reforestation projects are proposed, and some are being implemented. Similarly, there are ambitious international forest restoration targets. However, while restoration is becoming an important activity globally, in some regions it can cause reductions in water yields and, if not done properly, may also affect water quality.

Leaf area is an important measure for the water use of trees- © iStock: Keikona.

“As one example, reforestation or afforestation can reduce the total annual water yield from a watershed, because more trees transpire more water. This results in smaller amounts of water in rivers or in groundwater systems.

“On the other hand,” Prof. Harper continued, “forest restoration activities can have beneficial effects on other hydrological variables, for instance, decreasing peak flows so there’s less chance of flooding. There are also well-documented examples of improvements in watershed water quality.

“What it all means is that we need to take a good look at all the different aspects of hydrological functions and use science to devise better forest management systems.”

Dr. Shirong Liu, President of the Chinese Academy of Forestry, Vice-President of IUFRO, and also deputy coordinator of the TF said: “In 2018, the TF Forests, Soil and Water Interactions played a key role in developing a global assessment on forests and water. While that report supports high-level dialogue and discussion, there is a need to develop guidance for on-the-ground forest practices.

“We have also noted a lack of science-based operational guidelines to support management practices in regard to water protection,” he added.

The TF will evaluate the interaction between science and related policy responses concerning the decline of water values in some forest areas, global forest decline and inter-related climate and landscape scale forest disturbance impacts.

Among other objectives, the TF will examine and evaluate the impacts of vegetation restoration projects on water supply in arid and semi-arid ecosystems and take a look at the effects on forest and water interactions by forest management, afforestation and reforestation at local and regional scales.

Dr. Wei said: “Given the pool of expertise in our TF and our plan to work with other IUFRO TFs and Divisions, I see this as a great opportunity to promote synergy and collaboration across different parts of the world and among different disciplines. One good example is that our TF members are working with a team led by FAO to develop a publication on how to manage forest for water, including how to monitor, implement on-the-ground practices and build a business case. The publication: A Guide to Forest-Water Management will be released later this year.

“We also plan to develop a special journal issue of synthesized papers to assist forest management practices in the context of water protection. This will benefit forest industries, researchers, municipalities and planners,” he added.

###

Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities. A Global Assessment Report. Editors: Irena F. Creed and Meine van Noordwijk (GFEP – Expert Panel on Forests and Water 2018): https://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/gfep-initiative/panel-on-forests-and-water/

IUFRO Task Force ‘Forests and Water Interactions in a Changing Environment’:
https://www.iufro.org/science/task-forces/forests-water-interaction-changing-environment/

(Preceded by the Task Force ‘Forests, Soil and Water Interactions’:
https://www.iufro.org/science/task-forces/former-task-forces/forests-soil-water/)

The IUFRO Task Forces are established on a temporary basis during each 5-year IUFRO Board term and focus on emerging key forest-related issues. The nine current TFs will run till 2024 at which time their relevance will be assessed in relation to the forest issues of the day.

Spotlight #82 – More local involvement one key to FLR success

Spotlight #82 – More local involvement one key to FLR success

PDF for download

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

Involvement of local people is key to successful forest landscape restoration (example from India). Photo credit: Michael Kleine, IUFRO.

That classic line from the Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke, has since become a catch phrase to describe situations – some comical, others quite serious – that go awry when people aren’t on the same page.

Used in its more serious sense, that phrase can explain the failure of many Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) projects.

Read more…

Spotlight #81 – Developing evidence-based cases for planted forests

Spotlight #81 – Developing evidence-based cases for planted forests

PDF for download

Polycyclic mixed plantation, 5 years old, in Veneto (Italy). Photo by Paolo Mori.

Plantation forests get a bad rap.

That’s the assessment of Christophe Orazio, who is coordinator of the IUFRO Task Force (TF) on Resilient Planted Forests and, after having led the Planted Forests Facility of the European Forest Institute (EFI-PFF) until its closure in 2019, is now director of the European Institute for Cultivated Forest (IEFC).

Read more…
Polycyclic mixed plantation, 5 years old, in Veneto (Italy). Photo by Paolo Mori.

Plantation forests get a bad rap.

That’s the assessment of Christophe Orazio, who is coordinator of the IUFRO Task Force (TF) on Resilient Planted Forests and, after having led the Planted Forests Facility of the European Forest Institute (EFI-PFF) until its closure in 2019, is now director of the European Institute for Cultivated Forest (IEFC).

Read more…

The world is fighting forest fires in the midst of a pandemic

The world is fighting forest fires in the midst of a pandemic

Interview with Dr. Andrey Krasovskiy originally published in French: https://journalmetro.com/perspective/2477417/monde-lutte-feux-de-foret-pandemie/
On 25 June 2020 by Miguel Velazquez, Métro World News

Dr. Andrey Krasovskiy is a Research Scholar working with the Ecosystems Services and Management Program (ESM) of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria: https://iiasa.ac.at/

He is a Member of the IUFRO Task Force “Fire$: Economic Drivers of Global Wildland Fire Activity”: https://www.iufro.org/science/task-forces/global-wildland-fire-activity/

Q: What is the outlook for forest fires this year?
Forest fires are likely to keep the dynamics from previous years. Along with the problematic regions, such as Amazon, where forest fires are driven by deforestation, and Indonesia, where extremely vulnerable peatland areas are located, considerable fire events are to be expected in boreal forests of Russia, the US, and Canada. The forest fires might also show relative increase compared to previous years in Central European countries. There is a danger that post-quarantine human activities will further add to forest fire frequency in the Mediterranean region, as well as globally.

Skeeze on Pixabay
Read more…

“Harnessing Synergies between Agriculture and Forest Restoration’

“Harnessing Synergies between Agriculture and Forest Restoration’

Communities work together to restore forests – an example from Nepal
By Lila Nath Sharma, PhD

Blog from IUFRO Member Organization ForestAction Nepal

Jalthal forest is a 6,000 ha forested land in the densely populated region in the lowland of Southeastern Nepal. It is a remnant moist tropical forest with diverse ecosystems and habitats comprising swamps, rivers, ponds, hillocks and plain areas. It is an important biodiversity hotspot with several threatened floras and faunas including the Asiatic elephant and pangolin. The forest has unique assemblages of tropical and subtropical plant species found in the sub Himalayan tract. Floristic elements from different bio-geographical regions – Sino Himalayan, East Asian and Indian, for example – makes the forest diverse and unique.

The forest is an important source of environmental services including fresh water and multitudes of forest products for people living around the forest.  It is currently managed by 22 Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) and is an important livelihood source for over 80,000 people. In spite of high ecological and social significance, the Jalthal forest is subjected to multiple pressures. These include invasive species, human-wildlife conflict (particularly human-elephant), wildlife poaching, illegal felling of trees and timber focused forest management.

Read more…

IUFRO Spotlight #78 – More robust strategy needed to combat forest fires in Alps

IUFRO Spotlight #78 – More robust strategy needed to combat forest fires in Alps

PDF for download

An increasing risk of forest fires in the European Alps has led to a white paper that proposes a framework for integrated fire management to address the drivers of the current and future fire regimes in mountain forests.

Photo: 272447, Pixabay

To develop the white paper, entitled Forest Fires in the Alps, a panel from all member states of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) – Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Slovenia, Switzerland and Liechtenstein – was established. These scientists, members of action forces, authorities and other forest fire experts pulled together the fire experiences and knowledge of the various countries.

Read more…

IUFRO Spotlight #43: Helping forests and people adapt to changing times and climes

PDF for download

The world’s forests seem beset on all sides.

Rising populations and improved incomes are increasing demands for forest products and services ranging from the traditional – food, fuel and timber – to more recently recognized needs such as biomass, bioenergy, nature conservation, recreation and health, as well as forest biodiversity conservation.

“It is a great challenge to restore forest landscape in largely deforested areas.” Photo: John Stanturf.

At the same time, those rising populations – and changing preferences, such as increased demand for meat and dairy products – lead to forests being cleared to free up land for agricultural and pasture purposes.

Add the other drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, plus increasing temperatures, rapidly altering precipitation patterns and the impacts of continuously growing carbon dioxide concentrations on forest vegetation photosynthesis; and then throw in more extreme weather events that lead to more frequent and intensified droughts and wildfires, the migration of tree pests and diseases – aided by globalization – and one has a global forest under siege. Read more…

Forest Adaptation and Restoration under Global Change – Asian and Oceania Perspectives

Session A-9A (65): Forest Adaptation and Restoration under Global Change – Asian and Oceanian perspectives
27 October 2016, 13:30-15:30; Room 303A

Learn more about the IUFRO Task Force on “Forest Adaptation and Restoration under Global Change”: http://www.iufro.org/science/task-forces/forest-adaptation-restoration/

iufroao2016-blog-adaptationThis session, organised by the IUFRO Task Force on “Forest Adaptation and Restoration under Global Change”, discussed various aspects of restoring forest ecosystems under conditions found in the Asia and Oceania regions.

In the first presentation, John Stanturf (US Forest Service) explained the potential benefits that forest landscape restoration can have on mitigating as well as adapting to climate change. These included aspects such as diverse species and structures at stand scale; age classes of tree vegetation at landscape scale and connectivity. Read more…

The crucial role of forests in combatting climate change

Session title: A-03 (76) Implications of the Paris Climate Change Agreement (CoP21) on Forests, Water and Soils

Moderator: Richard J. Harper, IUFRO Taskforce Coordinator “Forests, Soil and Water interactions”, Murdoch University, Australia

Tuesday, 25th of October 2016, 10:30-12-30 (306B)

Find more information on the IUFRO Task Force of Forests, Soil and Water interactions at: http://www.iufro.org/science/task-forces/forests-soil-water/

 

Tree at lake, Laos. Photo: all-free-download

Tree at lake, Laos. Photo: all-free-download

The Paris Agreement established the ambitious goal to limit the global rise in temperature to below 2° C. This session took a look at the impact climate change as well as mitigation measures potentially have on forests, soil conservation and carbon mitigation. Read more…

IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations