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Newsletter 1: Febrary - March 2009

Editorial

After the first general workshop held in Florence (22-24 January 2009), many thanks to the organisers (under the supervision of Marco Marchetti) and to all the attendees for contributing to the Action. This meeting has met the expectations about it, given its usefulness, interest and efficiency.

But the Echoes Action has just started now and a challenging work is still ahead…

In the next 6 months, lots of activities are programmed: the national reports, 1 MC meeting, about 5 STSM’s, an Early Stage Researcher task force meeting before the next general workshop in November 2009.

The Echoes team, not afraid, will be under pressure on many matters in 2009!

Summary


About Echoes

  • Parties


Since the beginning of the year, 2 countries have joined Echoes: Czech Republic and Greece. Welcome to the Action!

Portugal is on its way to participate in.

  • Country reports

A reminder ... All the countries have to send their national report by the end of July (the deadline has been postponed from end of May to end of July in order to be more realistic). The general outline is available on the Echoes website.

  • STSM

The first call for application has been disseminate. 4 applicants have already applied. Their future outputs (reports, draft papers, etc.) will be available on the Echoes website as soon as possible.


The next calls will be launched for mid-may, mid-September and mid-January.


  • Florence workshop in January


The first Echoes general workshop took place in the Italian Academy of Forest Sciences (Florence, Italy) from the 2009 January, 22nd to 24th.

Objectives: to present ECHOES, to enable each party to give an overview of its country report, to discuss the major key issues in Working Group parallel meetings.
The meeting also gave the opportunity to gather the Management Committee members, to extend the composition of the Steering Committee and to draw future activities.

More than 75 participants from 26 countries attended the workshop: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom were represented at the meeting and, in addition, the European Forest Institute (EFI).


Introduction of the workshop, Thursday, 22 January

Klaus Seeland and Jean-Luc Peyron (respectively the Vice-Chairman and the Chairman of the Action) did a general presentation of ECHOES and of the workshop.

The invited speaker Luigi Perini (CRA-CMA, Italy) presented how climate is already changed and how it is expected to change in the future. He stressed that both global and local measures of adaptation and mitigation are needed.

Giorgio Matteucci (ISAFOM, Italy) made a presentation of the impacts of climate change on forest systems and ecosystems. He concluded that increasing CO2 and climate change bring with them both risks and opportunities for European forests.

Marcus Lindner (EFI) presented climate change impacts on EU forests and possible adaptation measures. He concluded that suitable adaptation measures differ between regions: the adaptive capacity is much higher in the Boreal and Temperate Oceanic regions whilst the Mediterranean and Temperate Continental regions are most vulnerable and require specific support.

Jean-Luc Peyron (ECOFOR, France) presented results of the international scientific conference of “Nancy 2008” and gave comments on key issues for mitigation.

Jari Parviainen (Metla, Finland) presented exploratory opinion of the Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment on the role of forests and the forest-based sector in meeting the EU’s climate commitments.

Marco Marchetti and Gherardo Chirici (University of Molise, Italy) presented sources of information potentially available to monitor and to assess the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems (e.g. remote sensing, GIS-based thematic layers and analysis/modeling procedures, field surveys from existing large networks like NFI, ICP, L-TER or other smaller specific projects).

The presentation of country reports


The first presentation of the country reports is downloadable on the specific Echoes webpage . 26 countries gave a quick but comprehensive overview of their national reports. A result well beyond the expected work, which was to gather only 3 major points of the future national report!


The Working Group meetings

The Cost Action Echoes WG1 Impacts, WG2 Adaptation and WG3 Mitigation were introduced by Heinrich Spiecker, Manfred Lexer (University of Vienna, Austria) and Maria Nijnik (Macaulay Institute, United Kingdom) respectively, with Jean-Luc Peyron as chairman.

In Working Groups parallel sessions to discuss the major key issues to be discussed during the Action in order to help in the definition of recommendations for forest managers and policy makers.

The workshop concluded in the afternoon with a plenary session providing a synthesis of WGs and conclusions.

A local visit to the Parco Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli was done on Saturday, 24 January.


And what about the feedback from the participants?

“The ECHOES general workshop in Florence (…) was perfectly organized. The first part of the “context and general knowledge” at the beginning of the workshop was useful. I was impressed by the plethora of valuable information during the short country reports. They provided an interesting overview about the situation in Europe and revealed similarities and differences concerning impacts, adaptation and mitigation in these countries. The kick-off of the working groups showed promising approaches. Of course, the location was nice and convenient and there was perfect catering. This was the basis for a really pleasant atmosphere at the whole workshop from which interesting discussions developed within the program, as well as within the coffee breaks.” Steffen Taeger

“The Cost Echoes meeting, was hosted by the Italian Academy of Forest Science, and well organized by Paris based GIP-Ecofor. (…).
The second day was mainly dedicated to the 3 working groups (Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation) and actions within these working groups. I participated in work group 3, Mitigation. During the parallel session, a list of relevant topics related to mitigation in the forestry sector, and related sectors was identified. The group was split up in three separate groups, Forestry issues, and Land Use Issues and Societal issues. I participated in the Forestry group. At the end of the meeting it was decided that further action will be taken by the members of this group to work on a joint paper describing the current options at hand in the forestry sector related to mitigation.” Thomas A. Groen, ITC, the Netherlands

“First of all I would like send many thanks to organizers of the Meeting for nice atmosphere in Florence.
Second concerning WG2 adaptation we had very good feeling about discussion of our group concerning the future working plans. Manfred was good choice as a leader of this group. Next months will show how we can really fulfill our plans, which are very ambitious.” Miro Svoboda and Emil Cienciala (Czech Republic)

More information about the meeting on the specific Echoes webpage .

Contact: Natacha Massu

From the participants…

… In Czech Republic, Sent by Attila Eredics (University of West Hungary)

Forests at the limit: evolutionary – genetic consequences of environmental changes at the receding (xeric) edge of distribution

11th – 15th May, 2009 Sopron, Hungary
Organised within the framework of SEA Training and Education programs of the European Network of Excellence project „EVOLTREE”

Aim and scope of the researcher workshop

Populations at the receding (xeric) margin of the distribution area face particular genetic and ecological challenges. Marginal populations often display low population density which make them prone to genetic bottlenecks and high inbreeding. Climatic shifts push them to the very border or outside of the species’ ecological niche. Strong selection may further reduce density and genetic diversity, and alter adaptability, leading to adaptational meltdown and ultimately to local extinction at the receding edge. Awareness has to be enhanced for coordinated research in this field because these effects have not received yet the necessary attention by the international scientific community.

The workshop is planned to deal with evolutionary-genetic consequences of growing environmental stress at the receding distribution limits of temperate forests. In the northern hemisphere, drought-linked forest distribution limits extend across the Mediterranean, Southeast Europe, South Siberia and North America. In these densely populated regions, forests bear high ecological and social values; it is therefore an imperative to evaluate available knowledge with the objective to mitigate effects triggered by rapidly changing conditions. The workshop will address genetic consequences of rapidly changing ecological conditions at receding margins under climate change. In detail,

1. Genetic basis of plasticity and adaptability,

2. Genetic consequences of extreme events,

3. Genetic options and evolutionary limits of response to fast changes. The interplay of genetic, demographic and ecological processes in marginal populations (including interaction with pests and consumers),

4. Tasks for human intervention (forestry management and conservation) and research in mitigation, at the receding edge of distribution ranges.


Contact: Mr. Ervin Rasztovits , Workshop Secretariat



The NEESPI Regional Focus Research Center for Non-boreal Eastern Europe has been founded at the Institute of Environmental and Earth Sciences, University of West Hungary, in Sopron (In cooperation with NASA, NOAA and RAS)

International cooperative research has paid up to now little attention to the effect of climate change in SE-Europe. Most of this region is situated in a climatic and ecological transition zone (ecotone) between closed forests and steppe therefore relatively small changes can generate ecologically harmful processes. Following the initiative of Prof. Csaba Mátyás, a regional coordination center (Regional Focus Research Center for Non-boreal Eastern Europe) has been established at the University of West Hungary, Institute of Environmental and Earth Sciences in Sopron, Hungary, as part of the NEESPI cooperation network. „Non-boreal” means that the field of activity lies outside of the boreal forest or taiga belt, in the border region toward the continental steppe. This zone starts nearly exactly at the location of the Focus Centre in Sopron, Hungary, and stretches eastward across the Ukraine and South Russia into South Siberia to Mandshuria.

The goal of this cooperation is the detailed analysis of effects of terrestrial energy, water and biogeochemical cycles and human impacts (first of all land use change) on the regional and global climate and on the dynamics of ecosystems. The formal inauguration of the Center is planned on April 24, 2009, in Sopron.

The NEESPI (Northern Eurasian Earth Science Partnership Initiative) network was established on the initiative of NASA, NOAA and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) in 2005. Since then, 560 researchers from 30 countries take part actually in the virtual organisation under NEESPI.

The goal of this organization is the joint research and analysis of effects of climate change on northern and temperate Eurasia. Three-quarters of the temperate land in the northern hemisphere is found in Eurasia therefore the processes taking place here will have remarkable influence on the Earth’s climate. One of the weakest points of climate modelling is the response and the impact of vegetation cover on atmospheric and hydrologic processes. The Center in Sopron plans – among other themes – to improve the knowledge about these interactions.

For more information please visit the website



… In France

A storm in the South of France

While the first general workshop of the COST Action FP0703 ECHOES in Florence was not finished, the storm "Klaus" was over the South-West of France before finishing its route in Italy. It hit mainly the maritime pine forest of Gascony, near Bordeaux, and felled about 40 million cubic metres of this species. This is more than 30% of the growing stock of maritime pine in the South West of France before this event.

Moreover, ten years ago, another storm (Martin) already struck the same area with heavy damages that were anyway lower than this time with about 25 million cubic metres and 15 to 20% of the growing stock.

The repetition of such events creates a totally new situation in this very specific forest in France as well as in Europe and should lead to think about the future of this forest.

Another question is relative to the link between such storm and climate change. French climatologists have actually the following statement: storms are supposed to be more frequent or severe with climate change, mainly in tropical areas (IPCC, AR4, 2007); however, there is no statistical demonstration or clear analysis showing that it is the case in France because of factors having opposite effects. Will the storm Klaus change the statistical analysis?

Contact: Jean-Luc Peyron and Guy Landmann


A new Marie Curie Action: TRANZFOR, Transferring Research between EU and Australia – New-Zealand on Forestry and Climate Change

The project started on March, the 2nd, for 4 years.

It aims at strengthening research partnerships through staff exchanges and networking activities between 3 European research Institutes from France, Portugal and United Kingdom, and 2 organisations from Australia and New-Zealand.

Tranzfor addresses scientific issues related to forestry and climate change. It is based on a coordinated joint programme of exchange of researchers for short period (2 to12 months), thus providing mobility possibilities to individual researchers and support to research organisations to establish and reinforce long-term researches between countries and partners which has occurred in the past decades.

The IRSES scheme provides a unique opportunity to integrate those past collaboration activities into a coherent programme addressing an issue of high priority on the political agenda of EU, New-Zealand and Australia.

The programme of exchange is focused on forests, forestry and climate change interactions, including assessment of impacts of climate change on forest functioning and development of adaptation and mitigation strategies for forest management. The range of common tree species of interest and climatic conditions, as well as the strategic importance of planted forests in the 5 partner countries involved, will provide a coherent framework and socio-economic background for the different research activities that will be conducted.

5 topics have been identified: genomics and tree breeding strategies, forest models, environmental services, risk assessment and management, bioenergy.

The 2 actions Echoes and Tranzfor are on the same matters. The Echoes Secretariat and the Tranzfor coordinator, after a first meet, are thinking about a concrete link and partnership. More information soon.

Contact: Jean-Michel Carnus , Inra


… In Germany


MOTIVE Models for Adaptive Forest Management

The project MOdels for AdapTIVE forest Management (MOTIVE) is large scale integrated project in the 7th Framework program of the EU that evaluates the consequences of the intensified competition for forest resources given climate and land use change. The project focuses on a wide range of European forest types under different intensities of forest management. In particular, MOTIVE examines impacts with respect to the disturbance regimes determin­ing forest dynamics.

MOTIVE seeks to develop and evaluate strategies that can adapt forest management practices to balance multiple objectives under changing environmental conditions. The evaluation of different adaptive management systems will take place within a scenario analysis and a regional landscape framework. A wide range of possible scenarios will be taken into account from optimistic predictions (“no major change for forest ecosystems”) including possible opportunities offered by climate change (e.g. increased tree growth in northern areas) to worst case scenarios (“extreme deterioration of the growth conditions for trees”) on different time scales (short - , mid-, long term). The main forest types in Europe for the most important bioclimatic regions will be covered.

Objectives: The ultimate objective of the MOTIVE project is to provide insights, data and tools to improve policymaking and adaptive forest resource management in the face of rapidly changing climatic and land-use conditions.

In order to reach these objectives, MOTIVE is organized into six scientific work packages in addition to a management-oriented work package (WP1):

· WP 2: Baseline trends and possible futures for the EU

· WP 3: Development of improved models for Adaptive Forest Management

· WP 4: Testing and evaluating management options and risks

· WP 5: Evaluating and selecting good adaptive forest management strategies

· WP 6: Improved decision support in adaptive forest management

· WP7: Stakeholder/Decision maker interaction and Dissemination

International research network

MOTIVE is a project that encompasses 20 partners from 14 European countries and has an overall budget of almost 9 million Euros, from which 7 million will be paid as EU contribution. The project is coordinated by the Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg (FVA - Prof. Dr. Marc Hanewinkel) with duration of 4 years. The official start of the project is planned for 1st of May 2009.

Contact: Marc Hanewinkel , FORST
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