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Models and decision SUpport tools for integrated FOrest policy development under global change and associated Risk and UNcertainty

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SuFoRun (Models and decision SUpport tools for integrated FOrest policy development under global change and associated Risk and UNcertainty)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2018-01-31

Forest policy and decision makers are challenged by the need to balance the increasing demand for forest-based services (e.g. recreation, protection, conservation) and wood-based products (e.g. timber, fuelwood) while addressing the impacts of natural disturbances (e.g. wildfires, droughts) on potential supply.

The European and the American experiences with the development/application of models and tools to support forest management and develop innovative forest policies provide a solid base for continuous improvement of its efficiency and effectiveness in a context of global change (e.g. changes in forest policies, changes in forest owner structures, changes in climatic conditions).

This project will build from the multidisciplinary expertise (ranging from environmental science, forest inventory and modeling, management, socio-economic analysis, operations research up to software engineering) in these organizations to develop innovative interdisciplinary approaches to contribute to for the development of tools that may be used by public administrators, forest owners and industry for enhanced integration of adaptive strategies in forest management planning as well as in policy analysis in a context of global change.
The project has contributed to major scientific achievements. These include 41 scientific publications (scientific articles) which are published (16), submitted (8) or under preparation (17), the organization of 6 international seminars/workshops (three of them organized in parallel to the kick-off meeting, the intermediate meeting with the project officer in Solsona, and the second annual coordination meeting held in CATIE in Costa Rica), the organization of two courses, the participation in scientific conferences and workshops (i.e. INFORMS, IUFRO annual meeting 2017, SSAFR2017) and the participation in the scientific panel of 4 international conferences (e.g. SSAFR2017, IUFRO annual meeting 2017, Risk Analysis IUFRO Conference 2018 and SSAFR2019).

The project is divided in three scientific work packages, the first is devoted to the study of Ecosystem dynamics and disturbance (biotic and abiotic) regimes (WP2). Reviews have been done to determine the state of the art of simulators to project over time the forested landscape. This has allowed to identify needs for further development of simulators in the different institutions.
Further, risk (e.g. fire risk) and uncertainty (e.g. growth under climate change, survival of plantations…) are key issues addressed in this project. Several models have been developed (or are under development) that allow predicting fire behavior and thus enabling to propose management alternatives to reduce fire risk.

Related to climate change impact, work has been done for calibrating process-based models (i.e. YieldSafe and 3PG) for Chilean and Costa Rica conditions as well as developing a new process-based model for Mediterranean conditions. In addition, work has been done to integrate process-based models into DSSs. This may allow forest owners and stakeholders to check the best management to perform in the forest under climatic changing conditions.

Since global change affects also the land use distributions and the habitats for species, different secondments investigated changes in species distribution (land use changes) and the regeneration success of species under different climates.

On the other hand, agroforestry systems are an important source of incomes in some countries. During the project, researchers from Europe have been developing models in Costa Rica and Brazil.

The second work package is Ecosystem services supply, risk assessment and trade-off analysis (WP3). This work package is more related to forest management and planning. In this context, different researchers have been working on the development of innovative methodologies to address multi-objective planning problems. This may include the combination of participatory workshops and multiple criteria decision methods (MCDMs) to support the development and negotiation of targets for the supply of ecosystem services and help design the management plan needed to meet those targets. These studies are important to help decision makers when multiple decision makers and multiple objectives are considered.

Other topics investigated have been the use of multi-criteria analysis (MCA) methods in order to produce information and knowledge regarding trade-offs between fire risk and other ecosystem services.
Regarding climate change impacts and adaptive management, innovative methods to account for climate change in forest planning taking into account multiple objectives have been published. This involved the use of process-based models to project growth under different climate scenarios and different management options. This methodology allowed the computation of the effects of management regimes in the provision of products and ecosystem services which were integrated as criteria in MCA models.

As a summary of this work package, a repository of all these decision models is being generated with a description of each of the models and their potential use.

The last work package, Intelligent ecosystem management decision support
Computer-based decision support systems (DSS) are means of transfer of technology and knowledge of structure, function and processes of forest ecosystems to enhance forest management planning and policy analysis. SuFoRun will advance in the integration of forest ecosystems multidisciplinary knowledge in intelligent DSSs which will be an innovative environment for ecosystem based forest management planning and forestry policy analysis. Therefore, the SuFoRUn network will implement generate knowledge about models (e.g Growth and yield models), methods (e.g. stochastic optimization methods) and ICT tools (e.g DSSs) to: a) facilitate decision-making processes of forest managers so that plans may optimize the supply of economic goods, while sustaining the ecological base in terms of biodiversity, carbon sequestration, soil and water quality and addressing concerns regarding the wellbeing of people and society and b) facilitate policy analysis processes that may reflect the aspirations and the interests of a wide range of forest stakeholders as well as society’s increasing awareness of the competition for resources between forest ecological and economic functions in a context of global change.
Seminar in Madrid 1
3PG course
Seminar in Madrid 4
Picture SSAFR2017
Kick Off Meeting in Lisbon
Semianr in State College
Seminar in Madrid 3
Seminar in Madrid 2