Tag Archives: sustainable forest management

Austrocedrus forests of South America are pivotal ecosystems at risk due to the emergence of an exotic tree disease: can a joint effort of research and policy save them?

Human expansion, global movement, and climate change have led to a number of emerging and re-emerging diseases. The decline of biodiversity due to emerging plants pathogens may cause habitat and wildlife loss and declines in ecosystem services. This, in turn, often results in lower human well-being. Reports
of emerging plant diseases are constantly on the rise, and often they appear to be linked to the commercial trade of plants and plant products. While there are several examples of decimation or extinction of plant hosts affected by invasive forest diseases, there are no known cases of invasive forest diseases successfully eradicated.

Austrocedrus chilensis covers today a total estimated area of 185,000 ha in South America. As a dominant forest species, its role in supporting biodiversity, generating shelter for wildlife, as well as preventing soil erosion and preserving water quality is well understood. Along with Araucaria araucana, it is the tree species that grows furthest into the ecotone zone within the Patagonia steppe, where it plays a key role preventing desertification. There are however additional functions this tree provides, including the production of valuable timber and the generation of an environment ideal for cattle grazing, recreational and touristic activities and for human settlement. As one moves South, this species becomes more and more important, and it is often one of only three dominant native tree species in forests. Due to its ecological importance and to its role in fostering human activities, A. chilensis can be regarded an essential element of the agro-forest society of both Chile and Argentina.

Starting in 1948, significant mortality of A. chilensis was reported in several areas.

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Advancing sustainable forest-related local development

Forests account for about one-third of the total land area of the world (FAO 2010). They are essential for human wellbeing and have an important role in mitigating and adapting to climate change and ensuring the provision of crucial ecosystem services. While considerable attention has been devoted to advancing sustainable forest management (SFM) and forest conservation, deforestation and forest degradation continue in many locations and pressures on forestlands increase threatening the provision of forest-based goods and services. The sustainable management of forests is vital for achieving sustainable development and it is a critical element in advancing forest-related local development and poverty reduction in rural areas. However, to date the general principles and recommendations for advancing SFM provided by numerous publications and various international processes and organisations have not led to sufficient changes at the local level. To address this crucial problem this research aimed at identifying conditions that foster or hinder progress towards SFM and forest-related local development, based on the analyses of 27 case
studies from different parts of the world.

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