Archive for April, 2014

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.

They anticipate that future management plans will have to consider a wider range of possibilities – factoring in such things as increased risk of invasive species; pest outbreaks; fire; storms and other disturbances; matching tree species and populations to changed and changing climates; and planting multipurpose trees (timber, foods, fuel, medicines, etc.) to mitigate the effect on forest-dependent communities, to name just a few.

Capacity building and raising awareness are also vital to ensure that decision makers and forest managers will understand the science and concept of climate change and the impact it will have on forest ecosystems. Training, learning from others’ best practices (several of which, from different parts of the world, will be discussed during this session) and better understanding how management practices can enhance adaptation and mitigation are key, they say.

Looking at the uncertainty of future conditions, the organizers suggest the traditional model where a researcher takes a problem, goes away, does experiments and comes back to the manager with “the answer” won’t work. By the time the researcher has a clear answer, they say, the conditions may be different.

Interactions among policy makers, forest managers, researchers and the community will have to become closer and more intertwined. Rather than operating in relatively independent silos, ongoing relationships and continuing, regular dialogue about the changing nature of conditions, how different values are being affected and what the management actions and alternatives might be, should become the norm.

From their session they hope to engender a discussion on the different approaches being adopted in different forest types in different parts of the world; the different governance systems; the scientific approaches, ecological options, tools and adaptation approaches; and to find out what is, and what is not, working.

And, they add, underlying any successful adaptation strategies anywhere in the world is the political will to make it happen. That means funding the research and planning, and acting to ensure the implementation of adaptation initiatives.

One of the main challenges, the session organizers say, is to become more proactive – moving from a “let’s deal with this when the time comes” mentality to one that says: “This is happening. This is real. Let’s get to work on it.


Also visit IUFRO Working Party 4.04.08 – Adaptation to climate change for more information.


Congress early bird deadline extended to May 7!

See you at the IUFRO 2014 World Congress!
http://iufro2014.com/
Follow IUFRO 2014 on Twitter! Join IUFRO 2014 on Facebook!

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Related Links

IUFRO Working Party 4.04.08 – Adaptation to climate change: http://www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-4/40000/40400/40408/

IUFRO Spotlight main page, http://www.iufro.org/media/iufro-spotlights/

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IUFRO Spotlight is an initiative of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations. Its aim is to introduce, in a timely fashion, significant findings in forest research from IUFRO officeholders and member organizations to a worldwide network of decision makers, policy makers and researchers.

IUFRO Spotlight issues up to October 2014 will primarily focus on the IUFRO World Congress that will take place on 5-11 October 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The topics of individual Congress sessions will be highlighted in order to draw attention to the wide variety of themes that will be addressed at the Congress and their importance on a regional and global scale. Find the IUFRO 2014 World Congress Scientific Program at: http://iufro2014.com/scientific-program/overview/

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

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


PDF for download

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.

But the societal impact is equally important.

And at the 24th IUFRO World Congress in Salt Lake City this fall, a session on the “societal impacts of invasive forest pathogens and pests”, will be presented by organizers Matteo Garbelotto of the University of California at Berkeley, USA; Giles Hardy of Murdoch University, Australia; and Paolo Gonthier of the University of Turin, Italy.

The organizers note that anything that has an economic impact has a societal impact, but there are many issues related to loss of plant hosts that can have a serious cultural impact with no apparent economic impact.

One example would be sacred tree species. The tanoak, which grows in parts of California and Oregon in the USA, is not of significant economic value per se, but it is sacred to some native Californians from the Central and Northern coast. They use tanoak acorns to make a traditional/ritual dish. However, tanoak is being decimated by Sudden Oak Death, which is believed to have originated in Asia, and the loss of this tree species is a major tragedy for these native people because it eliminates an important linkage with their past.

As a second example, the organizers note that closing forests to the public to prevent the spread of invasive pests and diseases is another case of societal impact – withdrawal of an environmental service – that is difficult to place a monetary value on.

One of the motivations for the symposium is to alert the scientific community to the need to work more closely with stakeholders and the public to better explain what the non-economic loss of a tree can mean to different social groups.

The organizers see this “citizen science” (one definition of which is: the engagement of non-scientists in decision-making about policy issues that have technical or scientific components) as a way to move forward in the fight against invasives.

Their hope is that by making the public partners with a stake in the issue – as well as some clout with decision-makers – rather than clients, it will help form a bond with the public that will generate enough pressure to bring about change in the way some sectors of the economy operate.

They note that the international trade in certain products – live plants and untreated wood, among others – offers the major pathway and entry point for invasives. But rapid, definitive action is difficult because that trade affects so many different interests.

For that reason they believe that researchers must spend more time providing policy makers, other stakeholders and the public with relevant, fact-based, easily understood information about the nature and mechanisms that lead to invasives’ introductions and to the wide-ranging implications. Otherwise, they say, one can’t really expect governments to make quick decisions on issues that have such huge economic ramifications.


Visit the webpages of IUFRO Division 7 Forest Health to find out more about IUFRO’s activities in this field:
http://www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-7/


See you at the IUFRO 2014 World Congress!

http://iufro2014.com/
Follow IUFRO 2014 on Twitter! Join IUFRO 2014 on Facebook!

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Related Links

The Montesclaros Declaration: http://www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-7/70000/publications/montesclaros-declaration/

Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month: http://bugwood.blogspot.co.at/2014/04/invasive-plant-pest-and-disease.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+Bugwood+%28Bugwood%29

FAO: Invasive alien plants in the forests of Asia and the Pacific. By K.V. Sankaran and T.A. Suresh. http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3276e/i3276e00.htm

Twitter: #invasives

IUFRO Division 7 – Forest Health: http://www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-7/

IUFRO Spotlight main page, http://www.iufro.org/media/iufro-spotlights/

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IUFRO Spotlight is an initiative of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations. Its aim is to introduce, in a timely fashion, significant findings in forest research from IUFRO officeholders and member organizations to a worldwide network of decision makers, policy makers and researchers.

IUFRO Spotlight issues up to October 2014 will primarily focus on the IUFRO World Congress that will take place on 5-11 October 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The topics of individual Congress sessions will be highlighted in order to draw attention to the wide variety of themes that will be addressed at the Congress and their importance on a regional and global scale. Find the IUFRO 2014 World Congress Scientific Program at: http://iufro2014.com/scientific-program/overview/