IUFRO Landscape Ecology Conference

From the 5th to the 9th November 2012, Barbara Schroeter had the opportunity to present the CiVi.net Project at the Landscape Ecology Conference of IUFRO, the International Union for Forest Research Organizations, a non-profit, non-governmental international network of forest scientists. For the first time, this international annual meeting of the group took place in Latin America, in Concepción, Chile, which was excellent because of the focus on this region by CiVi.net.
Before the conference started Barbara participated in a two-day pre-conference training course about the “Restoration of forest biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. Concepts and applications”, impeded by José María Rey Benayas from the University of Alcalá, Spain.

With the aim to get to know the other participants, on the first day of the conference a field trip was organised. Barbara choose a trip to the Millenian Araucarian Forest in the National Park Nahuelbuta (nahuel= tiger, buta=big in indigenous language), a sanctuary for Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle trees), with specimens dating back 2,000 years. Besides these astonishing trees, a wonderful view over the park, the Pacific Ocean to the West and the Andean volcanoes chain on the east was presented at the top spot, the Piedra del Aguila.

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Piedra del Aguila and the Araucaria Trees

After the field trips, three full days of the conference followed. A very mixed program was presented, comprising basically the following topics: biodiversity conservation, restoration, provision of ecosystem services, mapping land use change, spatial patterns and ecological processes, climate change impacts and mitigation.
Most of the speakers were scientist: biologists, geographers and forest researchers. However, there was a small session about “agents, socioeconomic connections and policy making progress “, most interesting for the CiVi.net Project.
For CiVi.net, Barbara presented a poster based on the reforestation work with Silvopastoril grazing systems in Santa Catarina. Chili_Poster_IUFROLE_Civinet_081012.pdf

Altogether, the conference was very interesting and useful for Civinet because of a broad range of topics and also because of the Latin American focus it got as part of the organizing university, which was useful for further contacts in the region. It is highly recommended to participate in further IUFRO Conferences, like in Estonia 2015 or the IUFRO Latin America Conference in June 2013 in Costa Rica.

IUFRO Pre- conference 

On the first day of the course, Prof. Rey Benayas spoke about how ecological restoration, focused on forest ecosystems in agricultural landscapes, is capable of mitigating land degradation. He started with a global perspective about the human ecological traces and the consequence of necessity of ES for restoration. The concepts of passive and active restoration were presented, as well as evidences for the increase of biodiversity and ecosystem services by restoration. Despite this success, conflicts arise from the need to reconcile forest restoration with agricultural production. The workshop/lecture ended with the examination of costs and benefits of restoration. Barbara pointed that one of the most interesting points for her were the real practical aspects regarding plants, time and space that have to be taken in consideration before or during forest restoration. Prof. Rey Benayas has also a pilot project in Spain, similar to the Silvopastoril Voisin System in Santa Catarina, where he plants tree clusters to restore the original landscape.
The second day of the pre-conference training was a field trip to the National Reserve Nonguen, where the participants visited the Reforestation Project of native forest from the Organizer of the Conference, Cristian Echeverría, of the University of Concepción.

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Left: Prof Rey Benayas, Prof. Echeverría, Mister Marco from CONAF, introducing to the field trip at the
National Reserve Nonguen.
Right: Student revising some young plants in the reforestation area.

This 3,000 ha reserve is characterized by possessing one of the last remaining natural forests surrounded by a matrix of forestry plantations and housings. The Reserve is one of the last natural forests, containing Nothofagus secondary forest and forest plantations of exotic species (eucalyptus tree), surrounded by a matrix of forestry plantations and housings. It provides different ecosystem services such as water supply, timber, erosion control, and recreation, being the water provision to various towns of the metropolitan area one of the key ecosystem services.
Together with some of his students and a responsible person from the National Forest Corporation (CONAF) the group of participants could get a good picture about success and limits of reforestation, an activity which is quite new in Chile. The slow going success is guaranteed by the good cooperation between university and the state administration CONAF, as well by financial resources manly from private companies.