Forests in Development: A Vital Balance


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The impact on ecosystems thus depends very much on the role played by invading species in the new food web. Perturbed ecosystems, those that have been made fragile by environmental change or by anthropogenic alteration, are thought to be both more easily invaded less resistant because of the availability of empty niches, and more fragile less resilient because of fewer or altered feedback control mechanisms. Invasion proceeds in phases. Many, if not most, invader populations become extinct during that period. Extinction often results from so-called Allee effects, when numbers are so low that essential collaborative processes such as finding mates are severely hindered Keitt et al.

However, in some cases and those are the ones we notice , opportunity presents itself either in the form of a change in environmental 30 J. Eventually, the system of balance present in most ecosystems switches into action, with natural enemies establishing themselves on the invader or with the plant community changing sufficiently to restore some form of balance, and the invader becomes an integral part of the new ecosystem.

Man has a very welldocumented invasion history, based on recent tracking of mutations in mitochondrial maternal and Y-chromosome paternal DNA Wells ; Watson Over the past , years, our species has successfully invaded the entire planet, with permanent settlements everywhere except Antarctica and some smaller oceanic islands. Homo sapiens is now the only representative of the genus Homo, and evidence suggests that this situation may have been the consequence of competition, following invasion, with now-extinct species such as H.

The date and method of arrival of H. Some say this was a coincidence, and that it resulted from climate change. But given that the more recent recorded history of human invasion in areas such as New Zealand and Mauritius was accompanied by the rapid disappearance of large game tame flightless birds like the moa and the dodo and their predators, my opinion is that the extinction of megafauna during the Holocene was hastened if not caused by anthropogenic ecosystem modification and overhunting. In his displacements and commerce , he has not travelled alone. He has voluntarily traveled with his domesticated animals and plants.

He has also unwittingly brought along for the ride many species such as rodents, parasites and pathogens. It is believed that the human population of the preColumbian Americas was near million, of which 18 million lived in North America. Perhaps the highest hunter-gatherer human population density on Earth lived along the northern Pacific Coast, where resources were abundant. This occurred before most of the indigenous population had even seen or heard of these fair-skinned, bearded invaders Dickason By the time European men of war had undertaken conquest by steel weapons, they faced a very much reduced enemy Diamond In the early days of colonization be it in North America, Australia, South Africa or New Zealand , man very systematically established invasive species into his newly acquired lands.

There are so many examples of this, from the rabbit in Australia to the deer on Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and moose on the Island of Newfoundland, that it is pointless to attempt making a list. So while invasiveness is a biological trait closely linked to evolution in the face of climate change, man has played, and is still playing, an increasing role in the rate at which invasion takes place in nature. This results from three processes. Increased international commercial activity from globalization and the industrialization of developing countries have multiplied travel opportunities for a wide array of species.

Expanding agriculture needed to keep pace with increasing human population density has been the most important source of perturbation, but pollution and exploitation of forested ecosystems have also greatly contributed to this increasing fragility Moore Those that are highly mobile active dispersal or have numerous wind- or waterborne propagules spores, seed, free-floating larvae, winged adults figure predominantly among the most invasive species. However, low mobility does not prevent species from becoming invasive e. Short generation times and high population growth rates especially high fecundities are also favorable traits.

Species that have few natural enemies tend to fare better upon arrival in their new environments. Generalists, species with a wide host range, predominate over specialists that have low flexibility in selecting food sources. Of course, these are tendencies, not rules. Another set of factors that greatly affects how much risk a species poses are those that determine its probability of emigrating. Species that are very numerous or that undergo outbreak episodes are the most likely to emigrate Moore and Allard Finally, cryptic species those that are most difficult to detect are the ones most likely to escape vigilance at points of departure as well as arrival.

This is perhaps the most obvious motivation for the development of molecular diagnostic tools Stoekle Finally, the probability of immigration or establishment in a new environment is determined by another set of factors. First and foremost is the environmental suitability of the destination in terms of climate and food resources here generalists fare better than specialists. Species that have a high tolerance to harsh shipping conditions pose particularly high risks.

This includes species with highly resistant resting stages such as spores or with a diapause phase. The best opportunity to reduce the risks posed by invasive species is prevention. Perhaps foremost in prevention is the identification of high-risk species and risk analysis.


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Risk analysis is a formal, multifaceted, stepwise and iterative process Fig. This information helps quantify the magnitude of consequences of its establishment potential impacts. Because the risk assessment step is intended to be iterative, the need to reduce key uncertainties should trigger the gathering of new knowledge that 3 Invasive Species, Climate Change and Forest Health 33 feeds back into refining estimates of occurrence or impacts, and providing additional mitigation options. Impact estimates with their inherent uncertainty are the main motivation for the second step, which is the design and application of a risk response.

Here, mitigation options are evaluated in terms of costs, benefits and uncertainties, and recommendations for action are made to decision makers. The third step involves communicating the intervention strategy to policy makers, the public and stakeholders. The results of a solid risk analysis can be used to determine the intensity of efforts to be devoted to monitoring at points of departure, sanitation measures for shipping materials e.

Eradication is easier said than done, and in many cases such efforts fail. At that point, once a new species is firmly established in its new environment, regulation is needed to reduce the risk of inadvertently accelerating the spread of the organism through internal commerce. Finally, control measures may be required to fight against the newly established organism to mitigate its negative impacts on the invaded ecosystems FAO It is necessary to know the species that compose current ecosystems in order to readily identify not only which ones are invading species, but also their impact on indigenous fauna and flora Kenis et al.

However, our knowledge of forest biodiversity, let alone of the services species render in ecosystems, is very limited. In addition, the quantification and monitoring of biodiversity require the development and maintenance of taxonomic expertise as well as the establishment and support of monitoring activities. Taxonomic expertise is in very short supply in many parts of the world, including in the most developed countries, as a result of past decisions on funding and training. This situation is an issue that requires immediate attention from political and academic organizations.

Adequate knowledge of the species that pose a risk of immigrating, or that have been found in a new environment is required to predict their potential range the area over which they are likely to spread and establish themselves , and impact. Such knowledge includes the fundamental responses of a species to the climatic conditions that constitute the environmental limits within which it can successfully complete its life cycle, reproduce and survive from year to year.

Another fundamental set of knowledge concerns the food resources that are likely to be available for the species in its new habitat. As invasion often involves a lack of co-evolution, few, if any, potential food sources can be expected to have efficacious defenses against an invader. It is generally believed that indigenous control agents such as predators, parasitoids, and diseases 34 J. However, determining the probable role played by competitors and natural enemies is a very difficult task. While risk analysis provides a solid framework to assist decision makers in the management of invading species either preventive or palliative , its application is only as good as the knowledge that is available to develop it.

In many cases, such knowledge is severely lacking, and the resources needed to obtain it are in short supply. For example, research on thermal responses must be done either in the country of origin of an invader, an activity that involves international collaboration and funding channels, or in the country of arrival. In the latter case, adequate quarantine facilities are often required where the invader can be safely confined for study.

Forests are critical resources in halting poverty

Host ranges are usually investigated in the location of arrival, and such investigations also require quarantine facilities. This is also true for the development of monitoring tools such as traps, pheromone lures, and genetic markers, as well as control methods biological control, pesticides. Thus, four areas of scientific activity are involved in mitigating the threat posed by invasive species: taxonomic and biodiversity knowledge, determination of basic biological requirements bionomics and host range, monitoring tools, and control methods.

This knowledge constitutes the tactics mentioned by Sun Tzu in the last part of the quote at the beginning of this article. Their integration through the process of risk analysis constitutes what Sun Tzu referred to as the strategy. All are needed if the management of invasive species is to succeed. In Australia, over 30 species of vertebrate and invertebrate invasive species have been documented to have a major impact. These are concentrated in the south eastern portion of the continent where human activity is at its highest.

In Canada, there have been over invaders in the aquatic ecosystem of the Great Lakes since Over alien species of plants have successfully established themselves in Canada. On trees in Canada, there are over alien insect species Langor et al. Most of the insects are Hemiptera species, mostly aphids and scale insects , Lepidoptera 91 species, mostly defoliating caterpillars , and Coleoptera 91 species, mostly bark beetles and wood borers.

Most of these are notorious pests such as bark beetles and wood borers in their potential countries of origin. In their risk assessment, these authors made extensive use of the available historical monitoring data on male moths caught in pheromone-baited traps as well as additional data on the presence of other life stages such as egg masses or larvae that are more directly indicative of successful establishment.

This was also complemented with an analysis of the impact of climate change on these probabilities. The conclusions of this study led to improved strategies for the deployment of pheromone trap monitoring a tactic by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and better decisions about the application of insecticides to eradicate introductions of the insect in western Canada another tactic. Another major application of knowledge on the climatic responses of an insect using similar tools concers the assessment of the risk posed to eastern pine species of the Canadian boreal forest by the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, an insect that had up to very recently been confined to the west of the Rocky mountains by a combination of habitat prairies to the south and climate to the north.

The insect having crossed over the mountains from British Columbia Canada into the pine forests of the western boreal forest in northern Alberta, and is now considered an invasive species threatening those ecosystems all the way to the Atlantic Coast Nealis and Peter These were well summarized by Simberloff et al. Research is needed to provide baseline knowledge 36 J. Knowledge of the bionomics of target invasive species, be they black- or white-list members, such as host range and temperature responses, is needed to determine with some certainty their probable geographical ranges and impacts.

This requires international cooperation and widespread availability of quarantine facilities and taxonomic expertise, as well as adequate funding. Research in the area of monitoring tools, including molecular markers and control tactics is also needed. Sufficient funding must be provided to conduct knowledge-based risk assessments and, when warranted from these, risk management and risk communication activities. These invariably involve the enforcement of monitoring and sanitation measures, as well as eradication and control practices that are well-integrated into well-analyzed and well-communicated risk management strategies.

These strategies, integrating adequate tactics, have a good likelihood of success Simberloff Finally, a word of caution. However, too much caution can cause severe disruption in trade and consequent loss of economic activity. Because of this potential loss, risk analysis should always be done before contemplating any specific actions against real or perceived threats posed by invasive species. In this line of thought, international collaboration and information sharing about the status of major forest pests among major commercial partners is essential.

Trade barriers should not be erected as a result of such information exchange, but instead common mitigation measures should be devised. Sharing technological tools, such as software products like BioSIM or molecular markers, and expertise in their application is also an important component of such international collaboration. References Addison JA Distribution and impacts of invasive earthworms in Canadian forest ecosystems. Biol Invasions —79 Botkin DB Discordant harmonies: a new ecology for the twenty-first century.

In: Dunn CP ed The elms: breeding, conservation, and disease management. Biol Invasions —19 Loo JA Ecological impacts of non-indigenous invasive fungi as forest pathogens. Successful management projects. Mabee, Ralph Simms, and Michael Taylor Abstract Continued insecurity around oil supplies has helped to keep oil prices high, and the combination of these factors have driven a rapid expansion in global bioethanol and biodiesel production.

While foods such as sugar and corn are still the dominant feedstock for biofuel production, interest in utilizing lignocellulose for the production of a 2nd generation of biofuels has grown significantly. The agricultural sector has made significant progress in developing bio-based fuels and chemicals.

Technologies from the agricultural sector may be combined with recent technical improvements that have made wood-based bioconversion more feasible. The biorefinery concept has been proposed as a means to extract maximum value from lignocellulosics, of which only a portion of the chemical structure is suitable for biofuel production. Within the biorefinery, some components of the lignocellulosic feedstock may be converted into a range of material, chemical and energy, as the basis products, such as wood chips. The continued development of new conversion technologies will allow these biorefineries to utilize lignocellulosic feedstocks, enabling the production of additional value-added bioproducts and more efficient recovery of bioenergy.

There are a number of complementary platforms for processing lignocellulosic feedstocks, including traditional platforms i. Saddler et al. The emerging biological platform uses biological agents, including enzymes and microbes, to hydrolyze and ferment components of lignocellulose to ethanol and other valueadded products. The thermochemical platform utilizes pyrolysis and gasification stages to convert lignocellulosic biomass into synthesis gas, which can then be catalyzed into a variety of products.

It is apparent that technical barriers remain for 2nd generation biofuel production. Production costs are uncertain but currently thought to be around USD 0. Even at higher oil prices, 2nd-generation biofuels will probably not become fully commercial nor enter the market for several years to come without significant government support. Once proven, there will be a steady transition from 1st to 2nd generation biofuels with the exception of sugarcane ethanol that will continue to be produced sustainably in several countries.

Their sustainable production is under review, as is the possibility of creating undue competition for land and water used for food and fibre production. A possible exception that appears to meet many of the acceptable criteria is ethanol produced from sugar cane. These concerns have increased the interest in developing 2nd generation biofuels produced from non-food biomass, ligno-cellulosic materials such as cereal straw, forest residues, and vegetative grass crops.

These biofuels could avoid many of the concerns facing 1st generation biofuels and potentially offer greater cost reduction potential in the longer term. This report looks at the technical challenges facing 2nd generation biofuels, evaluates their costs and examines related current biofuels policies. Although significant progress continues to be made to overcome the technical and economic challenges for 2nd generation biofuels, they still face major constraints to their commercial deployment.

The global demand for liquid biofuels more than tripled between and Future targets and investment plans suggest strong growth will continue in the near future. The main drivers behind the policies in OECD countries that have encouraged this growth are energy supply security; support for agricultural industries and rural communities; reduction of oil imports and the potential for greenhouse gas GHG mitigation.

Several non-OECD countries have developed their own biofuel industries to produce fuels for local use, as well as for export, to aid their economic development. Many others are considering replicating this model.


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Driven by supportive policy actions of national governments, biofuels now account for over 1. At least to some extent, some 1st generation biofuels have contributed to the recent increases in world prices for food and animal feeds. Regardless of the culpability, competition with food crops will remain an issue so long as 1st generation biofuels produced from food crops dominate total biofuel production.

Production and use of some biofuels can be an expensive option for reducing GHG emissions and improving energy security. For corn ethanol 42 J. Given the relatively limited scope for cost reductions and growing global demand for food, little improvement in these mitigation costs can be expected in the short term. Additional uncertainty has also recently been raised about GHG savings if indirect land use change is taken into account.

Certification of biofuels and their feedstocks is being examined, and could help to ensure biofuels production meets sustainability criteria, although some uncertainty over indirect land-use impacts is likely to remain. Additional concerns over the impact of biofuels on biodiversity and scarce water resources in some countries also need further evaluation. These 2nd generation biofuels are immature so have a large potential for cost reductions and increased production levels as more experience is gained. They are therefore likely to be part of the solution to the challenge of shifting the transport sector towards more sustainable energy sources in the short- to medium-term.

However, 2nd-generation biofuels face major technical and economic hurdles before they can be widely deployed. In addition, there has been significant investment in pilot and demonstration facilities, but more is likely to be required in the near future if commercial deployment is to occur. Given the current investments being made to gain improvements in technology, expectations have arisen that these advanced biofuels will reach full commercialisation in the near future; allowing much greater production volumes at the same time as avoiding most of the drawbacks of 1st generation biofuels.

More realistically, at least in the near to medium-term, the biofuel industry will grow only steadily to encompass both 1st and 2nd generation technologies that meet agreed environmental, sustainability and economic policy goals. Sugarcane ethanol will continue to be produced, but for more costly 1st generation biofuels, the transition to 2nd generation is likely to encompass the next one to two decades, as the infrastructure and experiences gained from deploying and using 1st generation biofuels is transferred to support and guide 2nd generation biofuel development.

Policies that target biofuels with lower environmental impacts if carefully managed, along with their potential for lower costs, are likely to promote the more rapid development of 2nd generation biofuels. These are not the only 2nd generation biofuels pathways, and several variations and alternatives are under evaluation in research laboratories and some pilot plants. They can produce similar biofuel products to the two main routes or several other biofuels for example dimethyl ether, methanol, synthetic natural gas.

Following substantial government grants recently to help reduce the commercial and financial risks from unproven technology and fluctuating oil prices, both the biochemical enzyme hydrolysis process and the thermo-chemical biomass-to-liquid BTL process have reached the demonstration stage. Several plants in US and Europe are either operating, planned or under construction.

A number of large multi-national companies and financial investors are closely involved in the various projects and considerable public and private investments have been made in recent years. As more of these demonstration plants come on-line over the next 2—3 years they will be closely monitored. Significant data on the performance of different conversion routes will then become available, allowing governments to be better informed in making strategic policy decisions for 2nd generation development and deployment. Based on the announced plans of companies developing 2nd generation biofuel facilities, the first fully commercial-scale operations could possibly be seen as early as However, the successful demonstration of a conversion technology will be first required in order to meet this target.

Given the complexity of the technical and economic challenges involved, in reality the first commercial plants are unlikely to be widely deployed before or Therefore 2nd generation biofuels are unlikely to make a large contribution to meeting global transport fuel demand before Both sets of technologies remain unproven at the fully commercial scale, are under continual development and evaluation, and have significant technical and environmental barriers yet to be overcome.

For the biochemical route, much remains to be done in terms of improving feedstock characteristics; reducing the costs by perfecting pre-treatment; improving the efficacy of enzymes and lowering their production costs; and improving overall process integration.

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The potential advantage of the biochemical route is that cost reductions have proved reasonably successful to date, so it could possibly provide cheaper biofuels than for the thermo-chemical route. Only time will tell. As a broad generalisation, there are less technical hurdles to the thermo-chemical route since much of the technology is already proven. The problems are with securing a large enough quantity of feedstock at reasonable delivered cost to enable the greater commercial-scale required to become economic. Also perfecting the gasification of biomass reliably and at reasonable cost has yet to be achieved.

An additional drawback is that there is perhaps less opportunity for cost reductions excluding several untested novel approaches under evaluation. One key difference between the biochemical and thermo-chemical routes is that, during enzyme hydrolysis, the lignin component is a residue and can be used for heat and power generation.

In the BTL process it is converted into synthesis gas along with the cellulose and hemicellulose biomass components. Although this efficiency appears relatively low, overall efficiencies of the process can be improved when surplus heat, power and co-product generation are included in the total system.

FAO Forestry

Improving efficiency is vital to the extent that it reduces the final product cost and improves environmental performance, but it should not be a goal in itself. A second major difference is that biochemical routes produce ethanol whereas the thermo-chemical routes can produce a range of hydrocarbon chains from the synthesis gas, including biofuels better suited for aviation and marine purposes. Although both routes have similar potential yields in energy terms, different yields, in terms of litres per tonne of feedstock, occur in practice.

Major variations between the various processes under development, together with variations between biofuel yields from different feedstocks, gives a complex picture with wide ranges quoted in the literature. The similar overall yield in energy terms 6. Where these materials are available, it should be possible to produce biofuels with virtually no additional land requirements or impacts on food and fibre crop production.

However 4 The Biorefining Story: Progress in the Commercialization of Biomass-to-Ethanol 45 in many regions these residue and waste feedstocks may have limited supplies, so the growing of vegetative grasses or short rotation forest crops will be necessary as supplements. Where potential energy crops can be grown on marginal and degraded land, these would not compete directly with growing food and fibre crops on better quality arable land.

Also their yields could increase significantly over time since breeding research including genetic modification is at an early phase compared with breeding of food crops. New energy crop varieties may increase yields, reduce water demand, and reduce the dependency on agri-chemical inputs. In some regions where low intensity farming is practiced, improved management of existing crops grown on arable land could result in higher yields per hectare and thereby enable energy crops to also be grown, without the need for increased deforestation or reduction in food and fibre supplies.

Supplies need to be contracted and guaranteed by the growers in advance for a prolonged period in order to reduce the project investment risks. The aims should be to minimise production, harvest and transport costs and thereby ensure the economic viability of the project.

This issue is often inadequately taken into account when 2nd generation opportunities are considered. Supply logistics will become more important as development accelerates and competition for biomass feedstocks arises. Reducing feedstock delivery and storage costs should be a goal since feedstock costs are an important component of total biofuel costs.

Comparisons between the biochemical and thermo-chemical routes have proven to be very contentious within the industry, with the lack of any real published cost data being a major issue. The commercial-scale production costs of 2nd generation biofuels are estimated to be in the range of USD 0. This does not take into account any future penalty imposed for higher CO2 emissions per kilometre travelled when calculated on a life cycle basis.

The main reasons for the major discrepancies between the various published cost predictions relate to varying assumptions for feedstock costs and the future timing of the commercial availability of both the feedstock supply chain and conversion technologies. The potential for cost reductions is likely to be greater for ethanol produced via the biochemical route than for liquid fuels produced by the thermo-chemical route, because much of the technology for BTL plants based on Fischer-Tropsch conversion is mature and the process mainly involves linking several proven components together.

So there is limited scope for further cost reductions. However if commercialisation succeeds in the — time frame and rapid deployment occurs world-wide beyond , then costs could decline to between USD 0. Areas that need attention are outlined below. Improved understanding of feedstocks, reduction in feedstock costs and development of energy crops: — A better understanding of currently available feedstocks, their geographic distribution and costs is required.

Experience in the production of various dedicated feedstocks e. Although in some regions there may be enough agricultural and forest residues available to support several processing plants, it is likely that large-scale production will require dedicated energy crops either as a supplement or in some regions as the sole feedstock. The optimal size of production facility, after trading off economies of scale against using local, reliable and cost-effective feedstock supplies, should be identified for a variety of situations.

Technology improvements for the biochemical route, in terms of feedstock pretreatment, enzymes and efficiency improvement and cost reduction: — Feedstock pre-treatment technologies are inefficient and costly. Dilute and concentrated acid processes are both close to commercialisation, although steam explosion is considered as state-of-the-art.

The effective hydrolysis of the interconnected matrix of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin requires a number of cellulases, those most commonly used being produced by wood-rot fungi such as Trichoderma, Penicillum, and Aspergillus. However, their production costs remain high.

Criteria and indicators: vital tools for sustainable forest management

The presence of product inhibitors also needs to be minimised. Recycling of enzymes is potentially one avenue to help reduce costs. Whether separate or simultaneous saccharification and fermentation processes represent the least cost route for different feedstocks is yet to be determined. Currently, there are no known natural organisms that have the ability to convert both C5 and C6 sugars at high yields, although significant progress has been made in engineering micro-organisms for the co-fermentation of pentose and glucose sugars.

The conversion of glucose to ethanol during fermentation of the enzymatic hydrolysate is not difficult provided there is an absence of inhibitory substances such as furfural, hydroxyl methyl furfural, or natural wood-derived inhibitors such as resin acids. Solutions to these issues will also need to accommodate the variability within biomass feedstocks. While pentose fermentation has been achieved on ideal substrates such as laboratory preparations of sugars designed to imitate a perfectly-pretreated feedstock , significant work remains to apply this to actual ligno-cellulosic feedstocks.

This could have benefits in terms of lower capital and operating costs, as well as ensuring the optimum production of valuable co-products. Given that development is still at the pre-commercial stage, it may take some time to arrive at the most efficient process pathways and systems.

Technology improvements for the thermo-chemical route, in terms of feedstock pre-treatment, gasification and efficiency improvement and cost reductions: — BTL faces the challenge of developing a gasification process for the biomass at commercial-scale to produce synthesis gas to the exacting standards required for Fischer-Tropsch FT synthesis. In spite of many years of research and commercial endeavours, cost effective and reliable methods of large-scale biomass gasification remain elusive. The goal should be to develop reliable technologies that have high availability and produce clean gas that does not poison the FT catalysts, or that can be cleaned up to meet these standards without significant additional cost.

Given the constraints on scalability and the level of impurities in the desired syngas, pressurised, oxygen-blown, direct entrained flow gasifiers appear to be the most suitable concept for BTL. Developing catalysts that are less susceptible to impurities and have longer lifetimes would help reduce costs. Co-products and process integration: — The production of valuable co-products during the production of 2nd generation biofuels offers the potential to increase the overall revenue from the process. Optimisation of the conversion process to maximise the value of co-products produced heat, electricity, various chemicals, etc.

The flexibility to vary co-product output shares is likely to be a useful hedge against price risk for these co-products. However, the policies designed to support the promotion of 2nd generation biofuels must be carefully developed if they are to avoid unwanted consequences and potentially delay commercialisation. Taking into account the environmental impacts of CO2 emissions from liquid fuels derived from fossil fuels would mean biofuels could compete on a more equal footing.

This is also important to ensure that bioenergy feedstocks are put to their highest value use, due to competition for the limited biomass resource also for heat, power, bio-material applications etc. In addition, the harmonisation of policies across sectors - including energy, transport, health, climate change, local pollution, trade etc — is necessary to avoid policies working at cross purposes.

This integrated policy approach, while not entirely removing financial risk for developers, will provide the certainty they need to invest with confidence in an emerging sector. This ultimately will lead to deployment of commercial scale facilities. Continued analysis of co-benefits including energy security, GHG 50 J.

The international collaboration on assessing the benefits and impacts of 2nd generation biofuels trade, use and production, and monitoring them, should be continued. Agreement on sustainability principles and criteria that include effective, mutually agreed and attainable systems via means such as certification, and that are consistent with World Trade Organization WTO rules, would be a significant step forward.

Accelerating the demonstration of commercial-scale 2nd generation biofuels — Before commercial production can begin, multi-million dollar government grants are currently required to encourage the private sector to take the risk of developing a commercial scale processing plant, even with the current high oil prices making biofuels a more competitive option than a year or two ago.

This risk sharing between the public and private sector will be essential to accelerate deployment of 2nd generation biofuels. Developing links between industry, universities, research organisations and governments, has already been shown to be a successful approach in some instances. Present support risk sharing for demonstration projects, with some exceptions, does not match the ambitious plans for 2nd generation biofuels of some governments.

Additional support policies need to be urgently put in place. Funding to support demonstration and pre-commercial testing of 2nd generation biofuel technology should be encouraged in order to reduce the risk to investors. Links with other synergistic policies should be made where feasible in order to maximise support for infrastructure development.

Integration and better coordination of policy frameworks requires coordinating national and international action among key sectors involved in biofuel development and use. Deployment policies for 2nd generation biofuels: — Deployment policies generally fall into two categories: blending targets which can be mandatory or voluntary and tax credits. Mandatory targets give certainty over outcomes, but not over the potential costs, while it is the inverse for tax credits. What pathways individual countries choose will depend critically on their policy goals and the risks they perceive.

Otherwise deployment and cost 4 The Biorefining Story: Progress in the Commercialization of Biomass-to-Ethanol 51 reductions are likely to be slow since initial commercial deployment focuses on niche opportunities where costs and risks are low. The two classes of biofuels should be considered in a complementary but distinct fashion, possibly requiring different policies due to the distinct levels of maturity.

Environmental performance and certification schemes: — Continued progress needs to be made in addressing and characterising the environmental performance of biofuels. Approaches to standardisation and assessment methods need to be agreed, as well as harmonising potential sustainable biomass certification methods. These will need to cover the production of the biomass feedstock and potential impacts from land-use change.

Policies designed to utilise these measures could work as a fixed arrangement between national governments and industrial producers, or could be designed to work as a marketbased tool by linking to regional and international emission trading schemes such as the one in place between member states of the EU.

Therefore a long-term view should be taken but without delaying the necessary investment needed to bring these biofuels closer to market. International co-operation is paramount, although the constraints of intellectual property rights for commercial investments must be recognised. Collaboration through international organisations such as the Global Bioenergy Partnership should be enhanced with both public and private organisations playing active roles to develop and sustain the 2nd generation biofuels industry for the long term.

The main hydrological impacts of these plantations involve shifts in a the partition of precipitation inputs between vapour vs. These effects are stronger under drier climates, where host vegetation is herbaceous, and where planted trees are eucalypts. In flat landscapes with native grassland vegetation, tree plantations switch the water balance from positive net recharge to negative net discharge triggering local salinization.

In degraded rolling sub tropical landscapes with intense rainfall inputs and high run-off, tree plantations can increase infiltration rates, reducing erosion, stabilizing flow, but cutting total water yield. As a result of these shifts, erosion can be reduced and the stability and quality of water provision improved, yet these benefits can be erased by large scale clear cutting practices. Introduction Land ecosystems and the transformations and management actions imposed on them are a key, yet often ignored, mediator between atmospheric water inputs and the actual water services that humans receive and value.

These services include the provision of water quantity, quality, stability for domestic, agricultural, industrial or energetic uses as well as hydrological regulation, perceived in different ways such as flood regulation, wetland support, or erosion control. The establishment of tree plantation, particularly in areas covered by non-forested vegetation grasslands, shrublands, crops and pastures , often leads to important shifts in the way that atmospheric water inputs get routed through the ecosystem and, as a result, generate changes on water services. Here we revise the mechanisms, impacts, and challenges of these effects on the water cycle focused on the South American continent.

Tree plantations, particularly those of fast growing species pines and eucalypts , have expanded globally covering in the last decade almost 2 million km2 FAO South America is second only to Asia in its expansion rate, adding every year 5, km2 of new tree plantations FAO In many countries of the continent, plantations were initially encouraged during the seventies by national states trough different types of tax incentives and with the aim of generating forest resources for local industries that were either unavailable or had a declining supply from shrinking natural forests.

In the nineties, increasingly globalized forestry markets and companies together with favorable local ecological fast growth rates and economic low land and labor costs conditions Cubbage et al. Most South American tree plantations have established into highly aggregated clusters which Table 5. Further review of the literature helped us to identify dominant species Table 5.

Species covering the largest area east of the Andes are Eucalyptus grandis, E. West of the Andes dominants are Eucalyptus globulus and Pinus radiata Table 5. While the hydrological effects of tree plantations can only be subtle in large basins and rivers, given their minor share of their territory, they can be locally important in the clusters described above. Pinus elliottii and P.

This becomes hydrologically significant in sub-humid climates with frequent light rains or fog that favor higher interception rates. Besides that, for a given water yield, lower partitions to run-off surface vs. In the next sections we synthesize current data regarding the final outcome that tree plantations tend to have on these two aspects: total water yields and the consequences of their surface vs.

These hydrological studies compare stream flows in pairs of planted vs. Notably, water yields under periods of no rainfall base flow suffered similar or higher cuts than mean values Farley et al. While at the time of this synthesis effort, no studies from South America were available, new data has been recently published. Water yield, as a percentage of mean annual precipitation, is shown for control watersheds under natural vegetation vs.

Dark points corresponds to different observations in South America, including type of comparison, planted tree, original vegetation, country : A — Temporal analysis in pines replacing dry forests in Chile Pizarro et al.


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Tree plantations can have very different effects over each of these two contexts as suggested by local and overseas evidences. As a result, plantations achieve higher production than those in areas without access to groundwater, yet, at the cost of triggering an intense 60 E. Salinization in these situations is ultimately controlled by the tolerance of tree species to salinity, which defines the maximum salt content that groundwater can achieve until groundwater consumptions ceases Nosetto et al.

Under the drier climate and deep rooted natural woody vegetation of Chaco and Espinal, water yields are virtually nil, and in spite of the flat topography, water table levels are deep Santoni et al. Although the hydrological consequences of the rapid agricultural expansion of that these regions are currently suffering have not been explored, experience from similar settings in Australia and the Sahel suggest that it can trigger water table level raises and intense salinization processes.

In Australia one of the only effective ways to remediate this environmental problem has been the establishment of tree plantations that suppress deep drainage and consume groundwater George et al. In the plains, cutting water yield, as tree plantations typically do, can be a local problem, as it has been shown for the grasslands of the Pampas, or a regional solution, as the Australian experience suggest for deforested land. Here we turn to the role of tree plantations shaping the relative contribution of surface run-off vs. Like in the previous case, the context in which plantations get established decides these effects.

Sloped terrain, fine textured soils even more if degraded by cultivation or overgrazing , and intense tropical rainfall inputs favor run-off. Tree plantations under these conditions have increased infiltration rates threefold, cutting run-off and in some cases increasing the base flow of streams but cutting total water yield , as shown by a recent global synthesis Ilstedt et al.

As a result of these shifts, erosion can be reduced and the stability and quality of water provision improved. Different effects can be expected when tree plantations become established on healthy natural vegetation. In this case infiltration rates may be already high and relatively unmodified after tree planting.

A critical aspect regarding hydrological regulation in tree plantation is the application of large scale clear cutting practices Donoso The benefits of slow surface water flow and high infiltration rates brought by tree plantations to sloped terrains can disappear and turn into an opposite situation after clearing them, particularly helped by machinery roads and traffic. Another setting in which tree plantations can have positive effects on water cycling through their influence on infiltration are sodic soils with highly degraded porosity. In the lowlands of Hungarian grasslands, the fertility of many naturally alkaline-sodic soils could not be enhanced by regional drainage practices that lowered the water tables decoupling soil from the source of alkaline salts because the low infiltration rates prevented them from getting leached.

The establishment of oak plantation on these systems increased infiltration fold and allowed salts to get leached down to the artificially lowered water table Nosetto et al. Although the same salt concentration process described for the Pampas took place below 3 m of depth under the tree plantations, surface soil increased it fertility and escaped the alkaline-sodic condition Nosetto et al. Similar findings have been reported in India Mishra et al. It is important to highlight that water yield cuts can be negative in areas that are valued for their water provision service e.

The plantations foci Table 5. On the other hand a prospective expansion of tree plantations on areas that are currently cultivated with annual crops in the Chaco and Espinal could help restore the natural low recharge rates of these regions, preventing flooding and salinization, as seen in similar places in Australia and the Sahel. In the Pampas, the high water consumption of tree plantations could help balance high recharge rates of expanding annual crops, at the cost of local salinization. It is important to highlight that under humid climates the relative impact of the evapotranspiration raises triggered by tree plantations on water yields naturally high declines and the regulation aspects, more associated with infiltration and run-off partition gain importance.

Most of the plantation foci occupying previously deforested areas but not those currently under natural forests in the Amazonic, Yungas, or Valdivian range can benefit from this effect. In addition, flat degraded areas or those naturally affected by alkalinity can improve their vertical water transport following tree establishment. These areas however are not likely to represent prime location for high production forestry. Together with context, the final hydrological outcome of tree plantations will also respond to design, including the choice of species, planting densities, harvesting methods, and selection of planting areas within the landscape.

When water yield cuts are tried to be minimized, planting deciduous species at low densities can be the best choice. For this particular problem the scale of tree plantations is critical, since plantation foci that never exceed on fourth of the basin of interest large river for energy generation, small stream for local drinking water will be unlikely to create significant provision cuts.

When water yield is tried to be taken back to zero to stop water table level raises and salinization, as in the case of Australian semiarid agricultural lands, evergreen species with deep roots and high salt tolerance should be the choice, and the selection of landscape positions that allow groundwater access but avoid long-term salt build up i.

When run-off needs to be halted, harvesting methods become critical since a wrong choice i. As societies increasingly recognize their reliance on multiple ecosystem functions they are demanding from tree plantations like from other land use options not only optimum yields or economical benefits but also water provision and regulation services.

For this to happen, Science and Policy need to merge into adaptative working schemes in which we learn from existing plantations in order to improve their design and place them in the best possible contexts. For Ecol Manag —30 Cubbage F et al. Water Resour Res W00A Glob Biogeochem Cycles GB The developed countries pledged large funding flows for actions to mitigate climate change in the forests of the developing world during the COP, and confirmed them in COP Considering its compounded future value in the future supply of wood fibre, biomass, environmental services and non-wood forest products, the forestry sector is under-invested and sub-optimally productive.

Many forest corporations have relinquished forest ownership from their core industrial business to remain more profitable. Private and local control over forests outside the industry is on the increase. Investing in forestry is at best offering counter-cyclical, predictable long-term rates of return, and serves for hedging against turbulence on other investment segments.

Political mandates to sequester and stock more carbon in forests and substitute fossil fuels for bio-energy have attracted a keen interest in the forest sector. Forest industry, on the other hand, has been a low return business for most developed countries, while fast-emerging economies have established a highly competitive industry. Restructuring needs have led e. Tissari Large institutional investors may become the game changers for low-carbon economy through forest sector. Even though COP was a failure in reaching a comprehensive climate deal, tangible success was reached on integrating forests more firmly into the toolbox for mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change.

If one puts these sums into a forest sector perspective, they will rather soon exceed the regular financing flows going into sustainable forest management business. Pension funds and other institutional investors banks, insurance companies, timber funds are investing in forestry and wood processing to hedge against inflation and diversify their portfolios. Dutch pension funds, for example, are already investing more than three billion USD in forestry in different parts of the world. More recently some institutional investors in the wealthier developing countries are beginning to open up to the opportunities presented by forestry assets.

These sources make up much of the private expenditure in forestry investments worldwide. These sums are unsatisfactory by a large margin. In the national forest financing strategies ODA is a catalytic element because the 6 Forest Sector Investments in a Changing Climate 67 main focus is on revenue generation from the sector and on enabling conditions for private investments Simula These giant funds can become the game changers if they are convinced that forestry with its multiple environmental benefits, and forest industry with sustainable products and materials, can open important pathways to low-carbon production and consumption.

follow url Vital Forest Graphics 10 years ago Over the last few years, two key environmental issues, closely related, have been on the top of the environmental agenda: climate change and deforestation. Read More. Related activities View all activities. Vital Graphics In order to inform environmental and development policy-making processes, UNEP keeps under review the state of the world environment. Related Media View all media.

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Forests Affected as Hideouts and Refuges. Global Biofuel Production. Very Little Forest Area is Certified. Logging and Corruption. Forest per Total Land Area. Indigenous Land in Amazonia. Trends in Commodity Prices. Major Producers of Palm Oil and Beef. The Carbon Cycle.

Forest Concessions and Protected Areas. Level of Dependence on Forests. Woodfuel Consumption Trends and Outlook. Number of Animal Species per Biome Ecosystem. Economic Value of Forests in the Mediterrean Basin. Forests and Conflicts. Extent of Pollution over Asia. Forest Conservation and Wood Production. Breakdown of Carbon Storage by Region.

Deforestation Benefits. Colonization of West Papua Indonesia. Global Forest Plantations for Protective Purposes. Trends in Forest Certification. Increase in Forest Concessions in Cameroon. Forests Regulate Groundwater Level. Trends in Occurence of Wild Fires. Changing Global Forest Cover. Average Annual Rate of Change. Estimated Loss of Plant Species Conversion of Original Biomes. Changes in Area of Productive Forest Plantations. Global Protected Forests. Deforestation Causes in Brazil. Forest Cover in Relation to Poverty Madagascar. Historical Forest Carbon Balance Illegal Loggin in the Baltic Countries.

Number of Tree Species per Country in the World. Drivers of Forest Conversion.

Forests in Development: A Vital Balance Forests in Development: A Vital Balance
Forests in Development: A Vital Balance Forests in Development: A Vital Balance
Forests in Development: A Vital Balance Forests in Development: A Vital Balance
Forests in Development: A Vital Balance Forests in Development: A Vital Balance
Forests in Development: A Vital Balance Forests in Development: A Vital Balance
Forests in Development: A Vital Balance Forests in Development: A Vital Balance
Forests in Development: A Vital Balance Forests in Development: A Vital Balance

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