Forest biodiversity: changing the paradigm of conservation

Forest biodiversity: changing the paradigm of conservation: understanding community dynamics, fostering evolutionary processes, promoting values.

The recent apparition of the “biodiversity” concept and its complex definition makes biodiversity a challenge for managers. Public perception of biodiversity is almost exclusively limited to the concept of protecting a state: e.g. the conservation of species and habitats. The EFIMED scientific seminar aimed at underlining that biodiversity is rather a process, by focusing on three main topics: 

  1. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning; do “biodiverse” ecosystems have a comparative advantage?
  2. How plant communities move?
  3. Valuing and financing biodiversity in forest ecosystems

As Dr. LeRoux presented, society perceives in different manners the relationship humans-biodiversity: while traditional approaches saw biodiversity as confronted with economic and social development, new views integrate biodiversity into human activities.

P4061911_314x235.jpg : 74.20703125KbDr. Blondel presented the meeting points in marine and terrestrial biodiversity as well as common challenges regarding global change, the impact of humans in terms of resources depletion and the modelling of threshold levels. The effects of increased biodiversity of forest ecosystems augmenting their productivity were shown by Dr. Muys, who also emphasized the need for dedicated field experiments.

The dispersal kernel, a tool to analyse plant population dynamics, was introduced by Dr. Klein, whose team has worked on the correlation of seed dispersal and trees distribution. Field work with seed traps can be successfully complemented with molecular markers for more consistent results on dispersal patterns. Participants could also visualize the flight of a bat, what allowed the scientists to explain the dissemination of seeds of certain species to unexpected destinations. Dr. Nathan introduced the movement ecology as a holistic approach encompassing the causes of movement, the motion and navigation capacity, the path followed and the external factors.

Dr. Ollikainen presented an interesting programme running in Finland for the conservation of biodiversity in private, old-growth forests. Based on the economic theory of auctions, this program fits under the schemes of Payments for Environmental Services. Special concerns on informational rents regarding the costs led his team to study the different behaviours of landowners and their bids. Dr. Shannon invited participants to discover the dynamic and evolving values of biodiversity and stressed the need of socio-ecological dialogues as a process of knowledge creation, pointing out its impacts in the interaction between humans and their environment. She excelled the role of foresters as “puzzle solvers” who face the challenge of innovation when coping with the different socio-ecological dimensions and uncertainty about environmental services.

Award to the best poster
P4061900_236x176.jpg : 50.638671875KbMs. Raquel Benavides and her team (S. Rabasa and F. Valladares) from the Natural Museum of National Sciences of Madrid, Spain received the Award to the best scientific poster, for her presented work “Effects of climate change in Pinus sylvestris recruitment: an approach through an elevation gradient”. Ms. Benavides will be granted a Short Scientific Visit of one week to another Mediterranean research institution.

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