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Special Issue "Our Future Forests and Their Products—How to Get out of the Woods—Selected Papers from the IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecophysiology and Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Florian Kraxner

Center for Landscape Resilience & Management (CLR), Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Forest and land use modeling, sustainable biomass production, forest-based bioenergy, renewable energy systems, forest ecosystems services, forest certification, SDGs and the forest, land-based negative emission technologies (NETs) including afforestation, reforestation, restoration, and BECCS

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 put forests in the spotlight of policy agendas to achieve many goals. In particular, SDG 15 aims to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”. Forests play an important role in reducing the risk of floods, droughts, landslides, and other extreme events, they protect watersheds, maintain the quality of air and soil, and host more than 80% of all terrestrial species. Forests also contribute to other SDGs, for instance, in SDG 13 on combating climate change, as they mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration. Investment into forests and forestry can help to support people’s livelihoods, especially the rural poor and women. More than 1.6 billion people currently depend on forests for their livelihoods.

Despite this significant role of forests for achieving the SDGs, many regions in the world still see rampant—legal and illegal—deforestation for economic reasons, and degradation of forests due to pollution and climate impacts. This raises the question of how to reconcile this variety of competing demands on the forests: How will our forests look like in a much needed greener future and how their products? How can we make our forests fit for the increased need for large-scale and permanent carbon storage, high demand for energy wood and other sustainable wood and non-wood forest products, while maintaining biodiversity and livelihoods, or natural recreational and protected areas? How do the corresponding policies look like and how can they be implemented within a short time frame?

Considering the above constraints, we invite transdisciplinary articles targeting new insights into a broad array of topics including: Risk resilient and sustainable management of global forests—also bridging to the Food–Water–Energy Nexus; optimal production chains for innovative products contributing to a future forest sector and the bioeconomy; the generation of relevant new information; ecosystems services and their protection including forest restoration; marketing and social aspects; as well as new forest-related policies, their implementation, impact, and monitoring.

The issue is also open to receiving regular submissions that discuss a relevant topic.

Dr. Florian Kraxner
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Future forests
  • Innovative forest products
  • Risk resilient forest management
  • Sustainable biomass production
  • Bioeconomy
  • Production chain optimization
  • Forest restoration
  • Forest policy
  • Forest ecosystems
  • Forest livelihoods

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Influential Actors’ Perceptions of Facilitators and Instruments for Solving Future Forest Land-Use Disputes in Europe
Forests 2018, 9(10), 590; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100590
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 9 September 2018 / Accepted: 20 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
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Abstract
Despite strong expectations regarding the role that forestry, with its multitude of potential benefits, could and should play in the ‘bio-economy’, little research has been done on the actual perceptions of influential actors on how to best address future forest land-use disputes. We [...] Read more.
Despite strong expectations regarding the role that forestry, with its multitude of potential benefits, could and should play in the ‘bio-economy’, little research has been done on the actual perceptions of influential actors on how to best address future forest land-use disputes. We want to shed light on whether and in which contexts expectations regarding the bio-economy, e.g., the strong role of markets, are likely. The paper analyses influential actors’ core values and beliefs about the primary facilitators and the most appropriate instruments for resolving disputes over future forest land use. We used Social Network Analysis-based sampling and a quantitative semi-structured questionnaire, which included a preference analysis with twelve items covering broad issues and disputes related to future forest land use, to identify actors’ beliefs about and preferences for facilitators and policy instruments within key issues for future land use. The respondents were asked to identify one of five ‘primary facilitators’ (state, market, society, individual citizens/owners, leave it to nature) and distribute six points to a maximum of three preferred instruments (eight items, covering a broad set of instruments, from dictates or bans to awareness raising). The results are based on the perceptions of the influential or most important actors from various innovative government and private forest initiatives in Bavaria (Germany), Slovenia, Castilla y León (Spain), Nordeste (Portugal), and Latvia (481 actor responses, 109 initiatives). The initiatives included participatory mountain forest initiatives, forest intervention zones, afforestation projects, forest owner associations, and model forest and labelling initiatives. The results provide insight into the similarities and differences between European countries and actor groups regarding the preferred facilitators and instruments for solving future forest problems. In light of disagreement in the literature on the role of the state or markets in future forest land use and the bio-economy, our results show that the market and its instruments are considered to play a dominant role in wood mobilisation. With respect to all other issues (socio-ecological, societal, other), the state or other institutions and their instruments gain priority. The state is considered to play a stronger role in developing new markets, e.g., for energy transition or new uses of wood, contrary to liberal market expectations. Ecological and social problems are considered to be outside of the market domain. Here, the state is called in, e.g., to steer recreational issues, the provision of ecosystem services, or the improvement of the protective function. The clearest preference across all regions is for the state to secure the provision of ecosystem services, in contrast to calls for future markets to regulate this field. Full article
Open AccessArticle Rethinking Fuelwood: People, Policy and the Anatomy of a Charcoal Supply Chain in a Decentralizing Peru
Forests 2018, 9(9), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090533
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 24 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
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Abstract
In Peru, as in many developing countries, charcoal is an important source of fuel. We examine the commercial charcoal commodity chain from its production in Ucayali, in the Peruvian Amazon, to its sale in the national market. Using a mixed-methods approach, we look [...] Read more.
In Peru, as in many developing countries, charcoal is an important source of fuel. We examine the commercial charcoal commodity chain from its production in Ucayali, in the Peruvian Amazon, to its sale in the national market. Using a mixed-methods approach, we look at the actors involved in the commodity chain and their relationships, including the distribution of benefits along the chain. We outline the obstacles and opportunities for a more equitable charcoal supply chain within a multi-level governance context. The results show that charcoal provides an important livelihood for most of the actors along the supply chain, including rural poor and women. We find that the decentralisation process in Peru has implications for the formalisation of charcoal supply chains, a traditionally informal, particularly related to multi-level institutional obstacles to equitable commerce. This results in inequity in the supply chain, which persecutes the poorest participants and supports the most powerful actors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Monitoring Deforestation in Rainforests Using Satellite Data: A Pilot Study from Kalimantan, Indonesia
Forests 2018, 9(7), 389; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070389
Received: 11 May 2018 / Revised: 22 June 2018 / Accepted: 26 June 2018 / Published: 2 July 2018
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Abstract
Monitoring large forest areas is presently feasible with satellite remote sensing as opposed to time-consuming and expensive ground surveys as alternative. This study evaluated, for the first time, the potential of using freely available medium resolution (30 m) Landsat time series data for [...] Read more.
Monitoring large forest areas is presently feasible with satellite remote sensing as opposed to time-consuming and expensive ground surveys as alternative. This study evaluated, for the first time, the potential of using freely available medium resolution (30 m) Landsat time series data for deforestation monitoring in tropical rainforests of Kalimantan, Indonesia, at sub-annual time scales. A simple, generic, data-driven algorithm for deforestation detection based on a consecutive anomalies criterion was proposed. An accuracy assessment in the spatial and the temporal domain was carried out using high-confidence reference sample pixels interpreted with the aid of multi-temporal very high spatial resolution image series. Results showed a promising spatial accuracy, when three consecutive anomalies were required to confirm a deforestation event. Recommendations in tuning the algorithm for different operational use cases were provided within the context of satisfying REDD+ requirements, depending on whether spatial accuracy or temporal accuracy need to be optimized. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Improved Estimates of Biomass Expansion Factors for Russian Forests
Forests 2018, 9(6), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060312
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5034 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biomass structure is an important feature of terrestrial vegetation. The parameters of forest biomass structure are important for forest monitoring, biomass modelling and the optimal utilization and management of forests. In this paper, we used the most comprehensive database of sample plots available [...] Read more.
Biomass structure is an important feature of terrestrial vegetation. The parameters of forest biomass structure are important for forest monitoring, biomass modelling and the optimal utilization and management of forests. In this paper, we used the most comprehensive database of sample plots available to build a set of multi-dimensional regression models that describe the proportion of different live biomass fractions (i.e., the stem, branches, foliage, roots) of forest stands as a function of average stand age, density (relative stocking) and site quality for forests of the major tree species of northern Eurasia. Bootstrapping was used to determine the accuracy of the estimates and also provides the associated uncertainties in these estimates. The species-specific mean percentage errors were then calculated between the sample plot data and the model estimates, resulting in overall relative errors in the regression model of −0.6%, −1.0% and 11.6% for biomass conversion and expansion factor (BCEF), biomass expansion factor (BEF), and root-to-shoot ratio respectively. The equations were then applied to data obtained from the Russian State Forest Register (SFR) and a map of forest cover to produce spatially distributed estimators of biomass conversion and expansion factors and root-to-shoot ratios for Russian forests. The equations and the resulting maps can be used to convert growing stock volume to the components of both above-ground and below-ground live biomass. The new live biomass conversion factors can be used in different applications, in particular to substitute those that are currently used by Russia in national reporting to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the FAO FRA (Food and Agriculture Organization’s Forest Resource Assessment), among others. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Perceptions on the Importance of Forest Sector Innovations: Biofuels, Biomaterials, or Niche Products?
Forests 2018, 9(5), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050255
Received: 28 March 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1876 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
New innovations are called for to renew the European forest sector into bioeconomy. However, little research exists on how the industry innovativeness is publicly perceived. Using data collected with an online questionnaire in four European countries, we investigate perceptions related to forest sector [...] Read more.
New innovations are called for to renew the European forest sector into bioeconomy. However, little research exists on how the industry innovativeness is publicly perceived. Using data collected with an online questionnaire in four European countries, we investigate perceptions related to forest sector innovations on 13 current and new bioeconomy-related products and services. Altogether, 218 valid responses were received in 2015, and the data were analysed using descriptive statistics, performance-importance analysis, and Gartner’s innovation hype cycle. Based on our results, the respondents were in the strongest agreement that the forest sector has since the year 2000 has produced innovations related to wood building systems, construction materials, and wood composites. In the next 15 years, they foresaw a decline in innovations related to biofuels and paper products. The European forest sector also has future potential in wood construction, which is likely related to international policy targets related to carbon mitigation and capture. The observed variation in perceptions among the respondents on forest sector innovativeness calls for strengthening industry R&D, as well as by improving societal awareness of ongoing innovation projects by developing better communication. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Development Strategies in Indochina: Collaborative Effort to Establish Regional Policies
Forests 2018, 9(4), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040223
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
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Abstract
We conducted a feasibility study in Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) with the aim of promoting biomass and bioenergy markets, technology transfer, rural development, and income generation. Policy development is guided by the International Union of Forest Research Institutions (IUFRO) Task [...] Read more.
We conducted a feasibility study in Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) with the aim of promoting biomass and bioenergy markets, technology transfer, rural development, and income generation. Policy development is guided by the International Union of Forest Research Institutions (IUFRO) Task Force “Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Network”. In this paper, we highlight the achievements up to now and present results of a multi-stakeholder questionnaire in combination with a quantitative analysis of the National Bioenergy Development Plans (NBDPs). We found a gap between official documents and working group assessments. NBDPs are focused on the market development, technology transfer, and funding possibilities of a regional bioenergy strategy, while the respondents of a questionnaire (working groups) favored more altruistic goals, i.e., sustainable resource management, environmental protection and climate change mitigation, generation of rural income, and community involvement, etc. We therefore suggest the following measures to ensure regulations that support the original aims of the network (climate change mitigation, poverty alleviation, sustainable resource use, and diversification of energy generation): (i) Consideration of science-based evidence for drafting bioenergy policies, particularly in the field of biomass production and harvesting; (ii) invitation of stakeholders representing rural communities to participate in this process; (iii) development of sustainability criteria; (iv) feedback cycles ensuring more intensive discussion of policy drafts; (v) association of an international board of experts to provide scientifically sound feedback and input; and (vi) establishment of a local demonstration region, containing various steps in the biomass/bioenergy supply chain including transboundary collaboration in the ACMECS region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Coordinating the Uncoordinated: The EU Forest Strategy
Forests 2018, 9(3), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9030125
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1251 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The second European Union (EU) Forest Strategy responds to new challenges facing both forests and the forest-based sector which highlights the EU’s need for a policy framework ensuring coordination and coherence of forest-related policies. The objective of the present article is to analyse [...] Read more.
The second European Union (EU) Forest Strategy responds to new challenges facing both forests and the forest-based sector which highlights the EU’s need for a policy framework ensuring coordination and coherence of forest-related policies. The objective of the present article is to analyse whether the new Strategy contributes towards horizontal policy coherence of EU forest-related policies, given its shared and exclusive competences. This is achieved by comparing European Commission and forest industry policy priorities as articulated in the Strategy and through research carried out for the recent Cumulative Cost Assessment (CCA) of forest-based industries. Results from the comparative analysis demonstrate that the Strategy does not address many EU policies and policy instruments that affect the whole forest value chain and that it clearly omits existing EU policy instrument objectives that entail significant costs for the forest-based industry. It is therefore argued that without coordinating collective EU goals and gathering strong political support, it is at best extremely difficult or at worst impossible, to achieve coherence for EU forest-related policies across the whole forest value chain. Improving coherence of Union forest-related policies will require the Strategy to address more policy areas and instruments, including clearly defined parameters of what constitutes an EU forest-related policy. These pressing needs reach beyond what the Strategy presently sets out to achieve. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Estimating Preferences for Wood Products with Environmental Attributes
Forests 2018, 9(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010041
Received: 22 November 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
Tropical deforestation and forest degradation are serious problems for the global environment; as a result, sustainable forest management and forest certification have become important. In this study, using a choice experiment, we investigated, on the demand side, consumers’ preferences and willingness to pay [...] Read more.
Tropical deforestation and forest degradation are serious problems for the global environment; as a result, sustainable forest management and forest certification have become important. In this study, using a choice experiment, we investigated, on the demand side, consumers’ preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for certified wood products that attempt to address public concerns regarding deforestation and forest degradation. Specifically, we investigated how estimates of consumers’ preferences and WTP were influenced by product attributes such as quality, certification, and price. To the authors’ knowledge, few studies of this kind have been conducted, particularly in Japan. The study’s main finding was that Japanese consumers were willing to pay a premium for certified wood products with attributes related to sustainable forest management; most preferred were products with attributes related to preserving biodiversity. These findings indicate that consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that contribute to solving the problems of deforestation and forest degradation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Climate Change on the Development of Tree Plantations for Biodiesel Production in China
Forests 2017, 8(6), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8060207
Received: 19 March 2017 / Revised: 31 May 2017 / Accepted: 8 June 2017 / Published: 11 June 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2569 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Biodiesel produced from woody oil plants is a promising form of renewable energy but a combination of tree plantations’ long cultivation time and rapid climate change may put large-scale production at risk. If plantations are located in future-unsuitable places, plantations may fail or [...] Read more.
Biodiesel produced from woody oil plants is a promising form of renewable energy but a combination of tree plantations’ long cultivation time and rapid climate change may put large-scale production at risk. If plantations are located in future-unsuitable places, plantations may fail or yield may be poor, then significant financial, labor, and land resources invested in planting programs will be wasted. Incorporating climate change information into the planning and management of forest-based biodiesel production therefore can increase its chances of success. However, species distribution models, the main tool used to predict the influence of future climate–species distribution modeling, often contain considerable uncertainties. In this study we evaluated how these uncertainties could affect the assessment of climate suitability of the long-term development plans for forest-based biodiesel in China by using Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn as an example. The results showed that only between 59% and 75% of the planned growing areas were projected suitable habitats for the species, depending on the set-up of simulation. Our results showed the necessity for explicitly addressing the uncertainty of species distribution modeling when using it to inform forest-based bioenergy planning. We also recommend the growing area specified in China’s national development plan be modified to lower the risk associated with climate change. Full article
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