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12 December 2016

CIHEAM Zaragoza (Spain) 12-16 December 2016

Advanced course : Concepts, methods and tools for an integrated approach of resilience in Mediterranean forests, CIHEAM Zaragoza (Spain) 12-16 December 2016.

Mediterranean forests are complex social-ecological systems characterized by an important biodiversity, high levels of spatial environmental heterogeneity, and a long history of deep interlinking with human populations to which they provide a bunch of ecosystem services.  Mediterranean forests are also considered as a hotspot of global change impacts and risks (drought, fires, pests, etc.). Adapting forests to global change is particularly challenging because of the multiple levels of uncertainty in future socio-economic and climatic scenarios, ecosystem responses, and impacts of forest management practices, among other factors. Ideally, adaptive management efforts should foster future provision of desired ecosystem services.

Resilience is the capacity of a system to tolerate disturbance without collapsing into a qualitatively different state that is controlled by a different set of processes. Forest resilience is driven by ecological dynamics and functions, management, policy and governance. Considering all these dimensions together in an integrative framework that bridges disciplines and scales is a condition of success towards long-term persistence of the Mediterranean forests and the services they provide.

 The course was framed in the context of the INFORMED project (INtegrated research on FOrest Resilience and Management in the mEDiterranean, This multidisciplinary research project develops a dynamic approach of the resilience of Mediterranean forests facing global change. The course was given by researchers in biology, forest sciences and economy having long experience of interaction with stakeholders. Twenty five participants from nine Mediterranean countries attended the course : thirteen scientists (researchers from various disciplines, professors, post-docs, PhDs), and twelve managers or policy makers.

Based on lectures, for half of the time, and practices, for the other half, the participants were introduced to concepts, methods and tools supporting transdisciplinary research and management in the Mediterranean forests. The objective of the course was to provide to the participants :

  • a holistic view of Mediterranean forests as complex social-ecological systems ;
  • a clarification of the concept of resilience, which is found with several meanings in the literature, and its use in forestry ;
  • knowledge on forest management for adaptation and adaptive management strategies ;
  • an integrated view of multiple risks approaches accounting for prevention and precaution strategies ;
  • knowledge on the elaboration and use of different types of scenarios to deal with complexity and uncertainty ;
  • knowledge on the diversity of forest ecological models, including practical experience in using one of them ;
  • knowledge on the methods of economic valuation of forest ecosystem services, including practical experience in using one of the available tools ;
  • an overview of data management policies and tools supporting knowledge integration.
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