IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress 2017

When is the event?

This event has passed

Where to meet?

The Konzerthaus Freiburg, Konrad-Adenauer-Platz 1, 79098 Freiburg

Do I need to book?

Registrations are now closed but you can follow discussions on Twitter @iufro_2017


IUFRO is the International Union of Forest Research Organisations, the global network of forest science cooperation. It unites over 15,000 scientists in more than 120 countries from virtually every part of the world.

Its 125th Anniversary Congress in Freiburg will celebrate the accomplishments of the past and establish a dialogue on the future of forestry and forest research. These discussions will focus on globally pressing topics such as how to enhance the contribution of forest research to mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity, providing water, creating income and employment, and improving the quality of life.

The full programme is available on the event website.  Abstracts from the papers and posters presented by Forest Research scientists are shown below.

Plants, pathology and practice: bridging the gap between knowledge and action in UK nurseries.

Mariella Marzano and Mike Dunn

It is widely acknowledged that a major threat to tree health biosecurity comes from trade, particularly through the importation of live plants, containers and growing mediums. Nurseries can collectively play a key role in mitigating pest and diseases through attention to their daily practices (e.g. procuring plants; storage and management). More widespread adoption of best practice in the sector could be promoted through the introduction of a UK-wide accreditation scheme. However, the success of such a scheme would depend not only on its uptake by nurseries but also consumer behaviour. To date the relationships between consumers and nurseries, as well as the sensitivity of nurseries to public opinion have remained under researched. Here we draw on qualitative results to assess the appetite for accreditation amongst UK nurseries. Secondly, we begin to consider which factors influence the purchasing habits of landscapers, gardeners and woodland owners. As part of this inquiry we provide findings from a UK-wide attitudes survey designed to elicit the public’s plant buying habits and perceptions around accreditation. As a key challenge of accreditation is likely to be the cost of new biosecurity measures, we also explore consumer willingness to pay extra or travel further to buy accredited products.

Social acceptability of pest management in UK forests: Does species and place matter?

Mariella Marzano, Norman Dandy and Mike Dunn

 Positive and negative assessments (‘attitudes’) of wildlife management methods affect forest decision-making in a number of ways. Not only do they constitute an integral element of some forest planning processes – formalised through stakeholder analysis and consultation processes – but presumptions about attitudes held by others can also affect forest manager decisions on which management methods to use. For example, widespread assumptions of public opposition to deer culling can reduce manager’s willingness to take that action. Support for specific management methods is often, however, contingent on the local circumstances in which they are used. Contingencies can include the way in which a method is implemented and by whom, the over-arching management objectives for the land in question, the juxtaposition of different methods (e.g. their relative priority or order in which they have been tried), and the effectiveness of a method in a particular physical and social setting. There is also considerable variation in support amongst different stakeholders along with uncertainty around which stakeholders oppose different management options, what they oppose, and why. Perceptions of the species to be managed (e.g. abundance) and connections to the place where management is to take place are very likely to explain some of this variation. To identify the key factors influencing social acceptability of management measures we present findings from face-to-face interviews and/or surveys relating to four species (grey squirrels, feral pigs, rhododendron, oak processionary moth) considered by some to be pests in UK forests.

Reaching out to diverse and excluded groups.

Liz O’Brien

Much of the research on ecosystem service provision and the benefits people gain from engaging with forests is captured through primarily quantitative methods. Qualitative research in this area is also undertaken; however commissioners of research raise issues about the small scale of the research, its representativeness, and whether the findings can be scaled up. This presentation will discuss research focused on excluded groups including those with autism, drug and alcohol problems, and emotional and behavioural difficulties. A study is being undertaken for the Forestry Commission at its national arboretum in England. The aim is to evaluate how a community inclusion intervention is impacting the wellbeing of participants. Mobile methods were used of spending the day with specific groups, working with them and carrying out interviews with staff, volunteers, group leaders and participants (where possible), and undertaking participant observation. Results suggest that if only one of these methods had been used the experiences of the groups would not have been adequately captured. The study is part of a larger study that includes a survey of visitors to the arboretum. The mixed methods approach allows multiple sources of data gathering. However, it is critical to recognise when it is appropriate to use what type of method. To do this an understanding of the study participants is crucial, as well as working with research commissioners to understand evaluation needs. Case studies of specific groups or individuals and quotes of people’s experiences can be powerful. Synthesising qualitative, and sometimes including quantitative, data from across a range of studies can be a useful way to scale up findings and illustrate commonalities and differences across different groups of people. This evaluation shows the importance of repeated visits for participants to become at ease and familiar with the site.

Understanding small woodland owners and managers in the UK: evidence to promote resilient behaviour change? 

Bianca Ambrose-Oji, David Edwards, Mireia Pecurul, Liz O’Brien

Around 73% of woods in the UK are in private ownership: 35% of those woodlands are less than 20 hectares in size, and the majority are owned or managed by non-industrial or family foresters.  The UK does not have a tradition of national forest owner surveys. Policy makers and sector stakeholders tend to commission topic focused research to better understand these small scale owners. The policy priority is to influence their behaviour, specifically to a) increase their active management of woodland, and b) in ways that are resilient to biophysical and socio-economic change.

We present our latest UK-wide research exploring woodland owners understanding of resilience. This follows on from a UK-wide bi-annual survey, the British Woodland Survey. We undertook additional extended interviews with around 50 small woodland owners and managers.  Our sampling was informed by a segmentation model based on owners values and management objectives.  Findings show that whilst understandings of resilience vary between woodland owner types, there are common issues of particular significance. For example: around 50% of owners were unsure if believe climate change will have an impact on their woodlands; if they perceive any threat there is high uncertainty and they believe there is little they can do to mitigate change; that many have a desire to plant resilient tree species, but different and sometimes contradictory guidance and messages on how to manage forests for resilience increases their reticence to change. One of the major barriers to behavioural change continues to be appropriate communication pathways and learning opportunities.

We use our findings to suggest future directions for forest land owner research in the UK.  We comment on how far research evidence can influence policy responses and move beyond the focus on grants as the only route to influencing small woodland owner behaviour.

Change management to increase wood mobilisation at regional level throughout Europe

Morgan Vuillermoz, Philippe Ruch, David Edwards, Bianca Ambrose-Oji

European member States’ Forest Policies call for increased wood mobilisation to maintain a resilient and competitive forest-based industry. Although a policy imperative set against a strong market, there are a range of technical and economic constraints, including limited interest from forest owners, acting as barriers against mobilisation.  However, innovative technical developments including new silviculture techniques and logging operations, or willingness to reconsider business-as-usual actions of organisations, can provide a relevant context to investigate new practices and strategies.

We describe the methodology used in 14 EU regions with the forest sector community (professionals, non-professionals and institutions) to steer them through a process of innovation and change through the development and implementation of collaborative pilot projects. Each pilot project was designed with an experimental approach and linked theory of change to the mobilisation of action to overcome a specific set of barriers.  As part of the process, stakeholders’ commitment and mutual understanding (social learning) is facilitated within Regional Learning Labs (RLL).

These experimental actions tried since 2014 delivered new knowledge to participating practitioners and new services to their clients and beneficiaries. The value of those outputs are being evaluated within the RLL to assess the change in attitudes and practices they enabled for those populations of professional operators and forest owners.  The lessons learned establishing the pilot projects provide important insights how such approaches might be applied elsewhere.

Added value for wood mobilisation from this global approach is relevant both for regional pilot project leaders and the forestry and business institutions who often support these public-funded initiatives.

Inorganic nitrogen deposition to forest ecosystems in Europe - spatial patterns and temporal changes in the past 15 years

Andreas Schmitz and Sue Benham

Economic transformation and emission reduction efforts result in ongoing changes in inorganic nitrogen deposition loads to forest ecosystems. Atmospheric deposition to forests across Europe is continuously measured at the intensive forest monitoring (Level II) plots of the International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests). The sampling design allows the analysis of both, throughfall (under the canopy) and open field deposition. Evaluations of measurements on 101 plots showed that mean throughfall deposition rates of ammonium and nitrate decreased by 9% and 13%, respectively, between the two periods 2000-2004 and 2007-2011. Deposition rates in open field precipitation decreased by 11% and 13% for the same substances between the same periods. This temporal development of deposition rates of inorganic nitrogen compounds is put into context with patterns of the national emission inventories and estimations from spatial transport and deposition models (EMEP). A potential shift toward an increasing relative importance of reduced forms of deposited nitrogen emphasizes the importance of understanding not only the effects of the total amount but also of the form (reduced vs. oxidized) of nitrogen input to forest ecosystems. We will present and discuss the magnitude and spatial pattern of such changes in the deposition of different nitrogen compounds, based on the long-term nitrogen deposition measurements of the ICP Forests Level II network across Europe.

Phyto-threats: A multi-disciplinary approach to address global threats from Phytophthora species

Sarah Green, David Cooke, Mariella Marzano, Bethan Purse, Paul Sharp, Dan Chapman, Alexandra Schlenzig, Jane Barbrook, Tim Pettit, Ana Pérez-Sierra, Béatrice Henricot, Debra Frederickson-Matika, Gregory Valatin, Mike Dunn, Leighton Pritchard, Peter Thorpe, Louise Barwell

PHYTO-THREATS is a multidisciplinary THAPBI-funded project which aims to address global threats from invasive Phytophthora species. The project team, drawn from seven different institutes across Britain, will (i) examine the distribution, diversity and community interactions of Phytophthora in UK plant nursery systems, (ii) provide the evidence base for a voluntary nursery ‘best practice’ accreditation scheme to mitigate further spread, (iii) identify and rank global Phytophthora risks to the UK and (iv) gain a greater understanding of the evolutionary pathways of Phytophthoras. Stakeholder participation is integral to the project both for nursery sampling to assess Phytophthora diversity under different management systems as well as social and economic assessments of attitudes towards a nursery accreditation scheme. A substantial database has also been created detailing the distribution and biological traits of all known Phytophthora species globally. This database will be used to model the risk posed by new Phytophthora arrivals to the UK from source regions through trade networks, providing novel information to UK Plant Health Policy. For the fourth objective, targeted genome sequencing of three Phytophthora species will help fill in gaps for comparative analyses of all available Phytophthora genomes to help us understand pathogen evolution and adaptability, particularly on woody hosts.

Quantifying the effectiveness of woodland creation measures for reducing agricultural diffuse pollution

TR Nisbet and M Silgram

Ninety percent of River Basin Management Plans across Europe identify agricultural runoff as the main source of diffuse pollution. On-farm measures to tackle the problem are increasingly being found to be insufficient to meet water quality targets. This is driving interest in targeted woodland planting as a more effective and secure intervention to reduce pollutant delivery to waters, while minimising land take and impacts on farming. Woodland offers a barrier and pollutant interception function, reducing the risk of direct contamination by agricultural activities on the adjacent land, as well as trapping and retaining nutrients and sediment in polluted runoff.

As part of the EU COST Action PESFOR-W, the evidence for the effectiveness of woodland creation for reducing a range of diffuse pollutants has been reviewed, with a focus on sediment, nitrate, phosphate, pesticides and Faecal Indicator Organisms. This paper reports the findings and describes how the results are being used to develop value ranges for woodland measures to reduce individual diffuse pollutants, and how these will populate look-up tables for use by pollutant and ecosystem services models. This will assist the development of payments for woodland water services as a cost-effective and sustainable approach to diffuse pollution management.

A sensitivity analysis of forest tree mock-up reconstruction methods from phase-shift based tLiDAR data

Eric Casella, Jan Hackenberg, Pasi Raumonen, Romain Rombourg, Olivier Bouriaud, Alexandre Piboule And Cedric Vega

New ground-based monitoring techniques are required for reporting forest biomass and carbon stocks. TLS technologies have recently been tested in several inventories to provide tree QSM from recorded point-clouds. For this, geometrical methods have been proposed and results have shown that TLS can overcome limitations of traditional methods in estimating tree volume. Nevertheless, the quality of the post-processing routines used to filter noise and ranging artefacts may influence the resolution of these methods.

This study reports an analysis of the effects of vegetation, scans and TLS characteristics, data filtering techniques and model parameterisation on the quality of the reconstructed QSM.

Our analysis was based on data recorded by a single-return TLS on four deciduous species during winter. Three trees were recorded per spp. from six scan positions around each tree and with three TLS sampling resolutions at each position. Data were filtered using both commercial and bespoke methods developed for this study (Rombourg et al. 2016). QSM were then computed by the methods described in Raumonen et al. (2013) and in Hackenberg et al. (2015) and standing volume estimated. Trees were harvested and their dry mass was measured.

Filtering routines in the commercial software tested were inadequate, yielding overestimates for coarse and fine branches. The number of scan positions, the TLS sampling resolution used and the tested model parameters all influenced the quality of the reconstructed QSM. After applying our filtering methods, model parameters did not have any influence on the quality of the reconstructed QSM. Standing volumes were generally underestimated, but the discrepancy reduced as both the number of TLS positions around the trees and the TLS sampling resolution were increased. The geometrical reconstruction quality of the QSM were finally assessed through a hemispherical photography technique (Casella et al. 2013).

Pan-European harmonised biomass equation for the most frequent forest species

Olivier Bouriaud, Eric Casella, Alexandra Freudenschuss, Thomas Gschwantner, Jean-Christophe Hervé, Gerald Kändler, Susann Klatt, Gheorghe Marin, Kucera Miloš, Thomas Nord-Larsen, Thomas Riedel, Laurent Saint-André, Christian Vonderach

Estimating forest biomass at large scale and its partitioning into components is a pressing issue, stressed (i) by international reporting obligations and (ii) by new demands for bioenergy and bio-products. In Europe, National Forest Inventories make available a comprehensive and unbiased sample of individual forest trees, which, combined with allometric equations, can be used to provide estimates of biomass stocks at a national level. However, these allometric equations are generally developed at regional or national level and exhibit a great variety between countries in their form and the detail they provide. Harmonised, unique sets of equations of volume and biomass, including their partition into components, would offer the possibility of harmonised Pan-European estimation of current biomass stocks and their changes over time.

For this study, we have compiled a meta-database on stem volume and stem, crown and/or total tree biomass from our DIABOLO partner consortium (8 partners) including more than 4,900 trees and 20 species. Gaps in definitions and sampling methods have led to differences in available data but the development of bridging functions compensates them. Combining different fitting methods including raw data and pseudo-data generation, new sets of pan-European volume and biomass equations have been built.

Initial results demonstrated a great consistency in tree biomass allometry despite the large north-south and west-east spatial gradients. Our analyses supported the hypothesis that a single set of equations could provide adequate estimates at Pan-European scale for each tree species. By merging the data from such a large range of growing conditions, the database reveals trends otherwise hard to detect from smaller, e.g. national, datasets. These models will enable the mapping and partitioning of biomass over Europe for most tree species.

Insights into the pathways of spread and potential origins of Dothistroma septosporum in Britain

M. S. Mullett, A. V. Brown, K.V. Tubby

Dothistroma needle blight (DNB) is a foliar disease of pine caused by two fungi, Dothistroma septosporum and D. pini, that has resulted in significant damage to pine forests worldwide.  Analysis of 1,194 British Dothistroma isolates revealed that only D. septosporum occurred in Britain, where DNB has caused severe damage since the 1990s.  Dothistroma pini, the other causal agent of DNB, was not detected.  The genetic diversity, population structure, and reproductive mode of D. septosporum in Britain were investigated using species-specific mating type markers and eleven microsatellite markers.  Comparison of clustering methods (STRUCTURE, BAPS, DAPC) as well as spatial principal component analysis (sPCA) revealed differences between the methods but similar groupings of the 382 multilocus British haplotypes.  A clear north-south cline was found with high genotypic diversity, low clonal fraction and strong support for sexual recombination in the group indicating the native range of the fungus may include Britain.  However, distinct groups also occurred in certain areas of Britain, some of which are most likely introductions.  A distinct, highly clonal group occurred in central Scotland and affinity to Canadian isolates suggests this group may have been introduced from the native range of its predominant host, lodgepole pine. Other clusters, as well as a number of identical multilocus haplotypes, were found in both Britain and France supporting a degree of pathogen exchange between these countries and drawing attention to the risk of introducing D. pini into Britain.  A number of multilocus haplotypes likely to correspond to those of the first outbreak of the pathogen in the 1950s were found in areas known to have received stock from the outbreak area and highlight the importance of human-mediated dispersal pathways.   Limiting the spread of new Dothistroma species and populations remains crucial to safeguarding Britain’s pine forests from further DNB damage.