Many centuries ago, a Greek philosopher noted that change is the only constant in life.
And change is brought about, in many instances, through discourse.
Discourse has been described in part as: “an ensemble of ideas, concepts and categories through which meaning is given to social and physical phenomena…”
According to this definition, discourse refers to a particular set of related ideas, which are shared, debated and communicated using different formats.
Through various discourses, we can discover fresh information and be introduced to new and different perspectives. We are able to gain experience and insight. As a result, our thinking, our attitudes, and our approaches toward various issues can evolve and change.
Certainly the ways in which forests are viewed, managed and developed have changed as the discourses concerning them have evolved. Read more…
City dwellers around the world could live healthier lives and see health care costs shrink simply by implementing better urban forest design, planning and management.
Recent innovative studies conducted in Canada and the U.S. show that trees remove air pollution – both gaseous and particulate pollutants – and this has a beneficial effect on human health.
And, while the concepts of trees scrubbing the air and cleaner air having beneficial effects are not particularly new, “the innovation derives from linking pollution removal by trees to human health in cities,” said Dr. David Nowak of the US Forest Service, and one of the authors of the studies. Read more…
“The portfolio of goods and services from forests is now very different to that two decades ago; yet there is a disconnect between the institutional framework and these new forms of forest use, leading to efficiency, equity and legitimacy deficits,” said Dr. John Innes, Dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
The changes – from forest planting and forest harvesting and operations, to forest use and forest products – occur at different levels. Today, forests produce a complex array of products from forest ecosystem services to timber and bio-products.
Market values are increasingly being attached to forest ecosystem services and this is changing the value systems associated with forestry. Read more…
IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #56 – Environment vs. economy: Mapping the forest environmental frontier
To some, the forests mean combatting illegal logging and associated trade, avoiding deforestation and degradation, conserving biodiversity and protecting wilderness.
To others, the forests mean timber as a renewable raw material for uses such as construction and bioenergy, forest-based climate change adaptation and mitigation and transitioning toward a forest-based bioeconomy.
“These issues can be termed the global forest environmental frontier,” said Dr. Georg Winkel, Head of the European Forest Institute’s Resilience Research Programme in Bonn, Germany.
“All the issues are interrelated and relate to a global controversy that asks how we can keep and manage the world’s forests to satisfy both ecological and socio-economic needs now and in the future,” he said.
Dr. Winkel is coordinator of a session entitled The Global Forest Environmental Frontier – What has changed, what has remained unchanged, how will the future look? at the IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress in Freiburg, Germany in September. Read more…
IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #55: Genetics research crucial to future forest health, adaptation, conservation and sustainable management
“The role genetics/genomics research can play in forest management is huge but, unfortunately, remains under-utilized,” said Dr. Om Rajora, Professor of Forest Genetics and Genomics at the University of New Brunswick, Canada.
“Genetics/genomics research can greatly assist the management of natural and planted forests by conserving healthy, productive, well-adapted and genetically diverse natural forest and developing high yielding tree varieties with desired traits for deployment in plantations,” he said.
Dr. Rajora is the organizer and coordinator of a session entitled Genetics and Genomics for Conservation, Climate Adaptation and Sustainable Management of Forests to be presented at the IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress in Freiburg, Germany in September. Read more…
An increasing number of studies demonstrate that mixed forests can deliver many ecosystem services at a higher level than pure forests.
Today, however, less than 0.1% of plantation forests worldwide are made of mixed tree species. And, by the end of this century there is the potential for about 20% of the world’s forest area to be represented by planted forests.
“More efforts should be made to develop new mixed, planted forests,” said Dr. Hervé Jactel of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research. He is one of the authors of a new review, Tree Diversity Drives Forest Stand Resistance to Natural Disturbances, which reviews the relationships between tree diversity and stand resistance to natural disturbances, and explores the ecological mechanisms behind the observed relationships. Read more…
IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #53 – Humans and Wildlife: Sharing Space in a Crowded World
There’s a line in a song by U.S. singer-songwriter Dee Moeller that goes: “The wide open spaces are closing in quickly, from the weight of the whole human race…”
That line could well be the sub-title for a session to be held at the upcoming IUFRO 125th Congress in Freiburg, Germany entitled: Co-existence of humans and wildlife in changing landscapes and climate.
Current human population growth is causing an increasing demand for natural resources and a growing pressure for access to land which, among other things, affects wildlife habitat and the interactions between wildlife and humans, said Dr. Chabi Djagoun, of the Laboratory of Applied Ecology in Cotonou, Benin. Read more…
IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #52 – Building on tradition to plan for the future of forests
“We’re trying to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” said Dr. Jens Peter Skovsgaard of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp, Sweden.
He was speaking about forestry operations and research and how change can be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Dr. Skovsgaard is coordinator of a session entitled: Forestry “Classic” for the Future, at the IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress in Freiburg, Germany in September. Read more…
IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #51 – Pooling resources to meet sub-Saharan forest challenges
Collaboration and cooperation are the keys to facilitating learning and making better use of research outcomes in sub-Saharan African countries facing severe forestry challenges.
That’s the philosophy behind Dr. Joseph Cobbinah’s upcoming session on the impact of forestry research on policy, livelihoods and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. The session will take place at the IUFRO 125th Congress in Freiburg in September. Read more…
IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #50 – Filling in knowledge gaps about natural disturbances and their interactions in mountain forests
In mountainous terrain they are called protection forests – forests that protect human settlements and infrastructure against natural disturbances such as rockfall, snow avalanche and shallow landslides.
Natural disturbances are becoming more and more important drivers in many mountain chains worldwide, mainly because of past land-use legacies. But also, under climate change, the incidence of some natural disturbances is increasing.
These disturbances and their interactions can threaten human life and property and can compromise the protection function of mountain forests. Read more…