Archive for June, 2013

Inviting Latin America to play a bigger role in IUFRO

(Edited translation of press release)

Find the Spanish release written by Karla Salazar Leiva, CATIE Communications, at:

On 14 June, the Third IUFRO Latin American Congress (IUFROLAT 2013), one of the largest forest research events in Latin America, came to a close.

During the closing ceremony, José Joaquín Campos, Director General of CATIE and Niels Elers Koch, President of IUFRO, invited all Latin Americans involved in forest-related research to become more active in IUFRO, the world’s forest science network that plays such a key role in promoting international coordination and cooperation in forest research.

At the closing dinner of the congress, the 40th anniversary of CATIE and the 20th anniversary of CIFOR were celebrated. CATIE’s innovative work for the benefit of rural people and areas and CIFOR’s achievements in research supporting decision making with regard to forest use and management in the least developed countries of the world were acknowledged.

(Photo by courtesy of CATIE)

(Photo by courtesy of CATIE)

IUFROLAT 2013 was jointly organized by IUFRO and CATIE. More than 500 researchers and experts in forest-related fields participated, representing more than 30 countries of the world. The congress took place from 12 to 15 June 2013 in the Hotel Crowne Corobici in San José, Costa Rica. On the day after the closing, participants had the opportunity to get to know different regions of Costa Rica in the course of post-congress excursions.

Note: The resolutions of the Congress presented by Ronnie de Camino, CATIE, at the beginning of the closing ceremony, will soon be made available.

IUFROLAT III Keynote Address Highlights: Hans Grosse Werner, INFOR Director General, Chile

Hans Grosse Werner (Photo courtesy of INFOR)

Hans Grosse Werner (Photo courtesy of INFOR)

Results of a stable state policy in support of forests: the case of Chile

Friday, 14 June 2013At the beginning of his speech Hans Grosse Werner congratulated the congress organizers on this splendid event and underlined that this congress will certainly have increased the visibility of IUFRO in Latin America.

The focus of the presentation was on the development of forest cover and forest legislation and institutions in Chile with particular emphasis on forest plantations, production and exports, progress made and pending tasks for the future.

Grosse gave an overview of Chilean forest history from prehistoric times to colonialism and the dramatic loss of forest cover mainly due to mining activities in the 19th century, and important steps in implementing regulative legislation in the 20th century.

“Thanks to the policies and laws that were introduced between 1912 and 2011, about 30% of the native forest could be recovered and 2.6 million ha of plantation forests could be added so that the overall forest cover in Chile eventually amounts to 16 million ha today”, said Grosse.

These legislative instruments relate mainly to the introduction of inventories, reforestation programmes, management plans, conservation areas and the development of forest curricula. However, the establishment of institutions to implement and control these regulations and ensure sustainability lagged somewhat behind. The Chilean forest institute INFOR and the national forest corporation CONAF were only founded in 1961 and 1973, respectively. A Ministry for the Environment was set up in 2010.

Yet, despite the progress made, there are still challenges to be overcome. One of these, says Grosse in conclusion, is the strengthening of the small and medium-sized forest-related enterprises. There are incentive programmes in place, but more needs to be done.

This keynote address was the final one in a series of high-level keynote speeches presented in the course of the 3rd IUFRO Latin American Congress.

IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: Impacts of logging on biodiversity in tropical forests

Impacts of logging on carbon storage and biodiversity in tropical production forests of Latin America

Moderator: Plinio Sist, CIRAD-ES, France

Friday, 14 June 2013, 8:00-10:00 (Chirripó)

Find more information on the IUFRO Task Force on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at:

The session addressed the very important issue of the trade-offs between biomass harvest, carbon storage and biodiversity. Biomass harvest is negatively correlated with biomass storage and, in most cases, with biodiversity.

A key finding of the first presentation, which dealt with a permanent plot experiment in the Amazon, is that logging intensity affects biomass recovery rate and period. The study determined that increased logging intensity is ensued by increased recovery rate, but increases the recovery period.

Another presentation highlighted the effects of logging after 30 years on tree diameter, timber species and floristic diversity. Floristic diversity had recovered to the original state. Conversely, diameter distribution was less heterogeneous and tree species composition had shifted to pioneer and other light demanding species.

The role of individual big trees was also highlighted in a presentation. The study conducted in Pará, Amazon, found that selective logging caused a net biomass storage decrease. Moreover, selective logging creates instability in stands, which results in elevated natural mortality of individual big trees, even 8 years subsequent to logging.

Another presentation emphasised the role of disturbance regimes, showing data that El Nino decreased standing biomass more than logging; where mature stands suffered more damage than newly logged stands. Emphasis was placed on the importance of rotation cycles, as the risk of devastating disturbance regimes increased with increasing rotation periods.

Presentations in this session:

Is Tropical Forest Conservation through silviculture possible? The contribution of Tropical Production Forest Observatory Sentinel Landscape. (Plinio Sist, CIRAD-ES, France)

Thirty years after logging: Three species dynamics in the Tapajos National Forest, Eastern Amazon. (Ademir Ruschel, Embrapa Amazonia Oriental, Brazil

20 years forest dynamics study case in the Embrapa Acre Forest in Acre State, Brazilian Western Amazon. (Marcus d’Olivera)

La dinámica a largo plazo de la diversidad taxonómica y functional de especies leñosas en bosques lluviosos tropicales aprovechados y con tratamiento silvicultural en Costa Rica. (Bryan Finegan, CATIE, Costa Rica)

Post-logging biomass recovery: a pan-tropical analysis (J Putz, Alexander Shenkin)

IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: Education in Forest Science

Education in the Field of Forestry

Moderator: Hans Heinimann, Coordinator IUFRO Division 3, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Friday, 14 June 2013, 8:00-10:00 (Santa Rosa 2)

Find more information on the IUFRO Task Force of Education in Forest Science at:

In this session the speakers gave examples of specific education systems and related in Latin America, Europe and the USA.

One major expectation of forest education is a shift in the focus of the general research field from “forestry” to “forests” including the transformation of the future graduates’ image. There is also evidence that linear career progressions have decreased and thus, roles and skills of forest students are required to adapt to changes.

One of the major future challenges for developing student skills is that education needs to be outcome driven; in many systems however it is still content driven. The employability and thus, the adaptation of education systems to the demands of future employers have gained far more importance.

Moreover the need for teachers to cultivate curiosity, passion and creativity in their students has been identified. General demands put forward for consideration in the process of transforming forest studies include the approach of convergent thinking and a shift away from linear thinking.

The gender and minority involvement in forest and natural management studies also requires more research. Furthermore, the accreditation of study programs and thus the comparability of degrees have been addressed by the speakers. Complex issues that involve changing demographics, structure of universities, social trends, and state budgets are among the challenges which many education institutions face.

In conclusion, the main change of education that is required is that foresters are expected to have greater competencies in many different subject areas including the fields of natural resources and landscape management.

Presentations in this session:

Education in forest science in the XXI century – expectations and reality. (Piotr Paschalis- Jakubowicz, Warsaw University, Poland)

Escuelas medias de ensenanza forestal: ¿son necesarias? (Osvaldo Encinas, ULA, Venezuela)

The European system of higher education after the Bologna reform – Dreams and realities, Hans R. Heinimann (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Trends in accredited forestry education programs in the United States. (Kevin Ohara, University of California, Berkely, USA)

Evolution and changes in forestry curricula over the last decades as exemplified by Faculty of Forestry in Krakow, Poland. (Gil Waldemar, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland)

Trends in Undergraduate Enrollments in Forestry and Related Areas of Natural Resources in the U.S. with Respect to Gender and Race/Ethnicity. (Terry Sharik, Michigan Technological University, USA)

IUFROLAT III Keynote Address Highlights: Peter Holmgren, CIFOR

HolmgrenPeter Holmgren, Director-General of the Center for International Forestry Research, presented his Keynote Address, “Forestry in a landscape approach – developing evidence-based policies”, during the final day of sessions of IUFROLAT III.

Holmgren, presented a series of questions, framing a way forward to position forestry alongside that of other land users to address multi-sector problems in a landscape approach.

In his first question, “what are the policies we need?” he defined what shapes many of the forest policies, not only in Latin America, also on a global scale. These included poverty reduction, nutrition and food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, preservation of biological diversity, and achieving green growth and equity. He outlined how forestry is related to 9 out of 12 sustainable development goals, and we need to think about where forestry can play a role in policies being politically relevant and providing positive contributions.

He transitioned by asking, “how does forestry contribute?” and presented his thoughts on how forestry is portrayed on increasingly large level.  Forestry has become an environmental issue and forestry related questions are often blurred with perceptions of forests on a whole. Topics such as REDD, illegal logging, etc have brought attention to forests, yet fundamentally, they are not forestry issues.  Holmgren proclaimed, “We need to take forestry out of the forest”. He explained how the adoption of a broader definition of the role of forestry, and how it applies to address key issues across a landscape, could be employed.

Expanding on this thought, Holmgren asked the question, “how is a landscape approach different?” In answer, he identified a sustainable landscape framework that focuses on objectives such as; ensuring livelihood provision, sustaining ecosystem services, securing food and non-food products, mitigating pollution and achieving resource efficiency. To do so, we need to see landscapes as a large part of sustainable development, identify multiple objectives and acknowledge that there are beneficial synergies as well as trade-offs. We need to build our work to ensure that local stakeholders are in charge and help strengthen the role of sectors to support them building a holistic landscape.

In order to provide this support, we must incorporate evidence-based approach in our science and policy interface. He answered his final question, “what is different about an evidence-based approach?”,  by introducing new models that identified the importance of satisfying demand by stakeholders for information with relevant, credible forest science research.

Holmgren closed with some take home messages:

  • It is time to take forestry out of the forest,
  • We need a landscape approach to deal with sustainable development challenges; and
  • Our plans for the future must be evidence-based.

IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: Forests, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Bosques, Biodiversidad y Servicios Ecosistémicos / Forests, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Session moderator: Bryan Finegan, CATIE, Costa Rica, IUFRO Task Force Coordinator

Thursday, 13 June 2013, 14:00-16:00 (Chirripó)

Find more information on the IUFRO Task Force Forests, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services:

The session offered insight into functional ecology, with emphasis on climatic conditions along elevation gradients showing that biodiversity decreases with increasing altitude. It also dealt with the provision of ecosystem services in relation with biodiversity. Biodiversity is essential for pest damage resistance, for example. Source dilution, chemical signals and activity of natural enemies are identified as being essential for ensuring low pest damage. With increased source dilution, pests are less likely to establish themselves in a diverse setting. With increased chemical signals associated with diverse flora, pests are less likely to find their favourite source. And with a high number of natural enemies, whose presence is correlated with high biodiversity, pests are less likely to cause damage. Hence, diversification on a stand/landscape level is needed to ensure the provision of forest ecosystem services.

Plant conservation in Southeast Asia was another topic. In Malaysia, for example, efforts to preserve plants have become a prevalent goal for scientists. Diversity is vast, and since 40 – 50 % of the preserved species are endemic, 24% of which are either endangered (EN) or critically endangered (CR), conservation is a central goal. While the pleas of scientists are being heard in some cases, legal frameworks are needed to protect these species.

A presentation on the carbon sequestration potential for complex mosaic forest landscapes in western Mexico aimed at addressing shifting cultivation, framed in the carbon emission discourse. With shifting cultivation, carbon is released to the atmosphere, adding to GHG concentrations. However, the study showed that on a landscape level, there are no net carbon dioxide emissions, as the carbon sequestration rate of forest re-growth compensates for the carbon emission from shifting cultivation.

The presentation entitled “Native forest cover increase: drivers and implications on ecosystem services”, focused on why some areas in the Piracicaba river basin were allowed to reforest. Satellite imagery helped determine deforestation and reforestation from 1990 – 2010. Having preselected variables, the results demonstrate that natural reforestation occurs when slopes exceed 30%, when water proximity is less than 100 m, when annual rainfall exceeds 1400 mm, when elevation is lower than 400 m below sea level or more than 800 m above sea level, and when vicinity to towns is more than 7 km.

The final paper focused on Chakras, forestry systems that are employed by indigenous peoples in the Amazon. Plant composition in Chakras is heterogeneous; they provide multiple sources of food, are biodiverse and function as stores of carbon. The presented study demonstrated that in Chakras, fauna is more diverse, carbon storage is higher in both biomass and necromass than in comparable Cocoa plantations.

Presentations in this session:

Bosques lluviosos tropicales, biodiversidad y servicios ecosistémicos en la era de cambio global; nuevas perspectivas desde la ecología functional (Bryan Finegan, CATIE, Costa Rica)

Forest biodiversity and resistance to pest damage. (Eckehard Brockerhoff, Scion, New Zealand)

Challenges in Developing Practical Plant Conservation Strategy in SE Asia. (Su See Lee, FRIM, Malaysia)

Carbon sequestration potential for complex mosaic forest landscapes in western Mexico. (Lucia Morales Barquero, Bangor University, UK)

Native forest cover increase: drivers and implications on ecosystem services. (Paulo Molin, Laboratorio de Hidrología Florestal, Brazil)

Variación en el almacenamiento de carbono, conservación de la biodiversidad y productividad en dos sistemas productivos, comparados con bosques primarios en la Amazonia ecuatoriana. (Bolier Torres Navarrete, Universidad Estatal Amazónica, Ecuador)

IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: Utilization of Forest Products

Aprovechamiento de productos forestales / Utilization of Forest Products

Session moderator: Don K Lee, IUFRO Immediate Past President, Korea

Find more information about IUFRO’s Division on Forest Products:

The primary objective of the first paper was to determine if Caesalpinia velutina and Giricidia sepium fuelwood plantations in Nicaragua could be economically viable for smallholders. It was concluded that fuelwood plantation yields according to product-specific requirements were essential for the economic viability analysis. In the context of this study and contrarily to public perception, farm-based Caesalpinia velutina and Giricidia sepium fuelwood plantations could be economically viable over longer rotations.

The second paper addressed the role of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). The sewage treatment process generates a solid waste named sewage sludge, a material rich in organic matter and nutrients. According to this study sewage sludge showed a great potential in the production of forest seedlings. It recommends the use of composite substrates with sewage sludge, because it minimizes the need for acquisition of commercial substrates, decreasing production costs by increasing productivity and disposing this waste in a more sustainable way.

The aim of the third paper was to contribute to the understanding of the growth dynamics of native species of Araucaria taking into account its complex structure and by the analysis of growth and competition, to subsidize the forest management and its conservation. The endeavour of trees to compete for light can be used to determine the best management and production options.

The fourth paper studied the growth dynamics of different species in an Araucaria forest remnant stand. It concluded that there is evidence that in the past the stand of Araucaria Angustifolia should have been thinned more intensively. Competition indexes are useful and can be used to recover information in unmanaged stands to optimize resources, and they can also be used as a reference to manage other stands in similar conditions.

The aim of the fifth paper was to determine the percentage of samples that best reflects the actual diameter distribution in a 1,000 ha of primary Amazon forest in Sinop, Mato Grosso State, Brazil. When considering the whole area, 5% sample intensity has proven to be sufficient  to estimate the horizontal structure of trees above 30 cm of DBH. Considering the diversity of the Amazon rainforest, it is still not possible to extrapolate this anlysis of the diameter distribution. Further replication studies are required to establish sample intensities and methods for different forest structures.

Presentations in this session:

Using Product-Specific Fuelwood Yields to Assess Economic Visability: A Case Study of Farm-Based Gliricidia sepium and Caesalpinia velutina Plantations in Nicaragua. (Kahlil Baker, UBC, Canada)

Utilization of sewage sludge in the composition of substrates in forest seedlings production. (Alan Marques Abreu, UFRRJ Brazil)

Growth dynamics of different species in an Araucaria Forest remnant. (Aline Canetti, Embrapa Florestas, Brazil)

Competition index: a tool to define thinning in stands of Araucaria angustifolia. (Rafaella Curto, Embrapa Florestas, Brazil)

Determination of sampling intensities to estimate diameter distribution in Amazon Forest. (Mariana De Oliveira Ferraz, Embrapa Florestas, Brazil)