Core research areas and staffing – Københavns Universitet

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Core research areas and staffing

Padova (College of Agriculture, University of Padova)

Forest economics and marketing of forest products and services
Notwithstanding international institutional initiatives like the FLEG process and the FLEGT programme, large amounts of wood harvested in developing countries and countries in transition are of illegal origin. A large number of Corporate Social Responsibility tools - like codes of conduct, reporting, Independent Forest Monitoring, SFM and CoC certification and labelling - have been developed to cope with the problem. Present research covers this range of issues with focus on (i) the integration of institutional initiatives with those promoted by the industrial sector and the civil society, (ii) the new problems of governance of the forestry sector based on scaling up participatory approaches and developing new instruments of stakeholders involvement and negotiation, (iii) the creation of new markets for some forest products and services through the process of commoditisation and the development of systems of Payments for Environmental Services (e.g. REDD and other Carbon offset voluntary instruments).

Forest hydrology and erosion control in mountain watersheds
Overpopulation is a serious problem facing the world today, with too many people making too many de-mands on a natural environment which is increasingly under stress. Mountain basins are a fundamental part of that environment and represent both a resource and a source of hazards: flash floods, soil erosions, landslides, sediment transports and mass phenomena as avalanches and debris flows. Moreover, global warming scenarios are producing increased frequency of heavy rainfall, rising sea level, permafrost deepening, and snow-cover reduction which are promoting land instability in mountain areas. DITESAF is developing researches focused on a sustainable watershed management. Main relevant topics are: (i) expert processing and use of LiDAR data for supporting the hydrological modelling and the knowledge of the mechanisms of the hill slope stability; (ii) flash flood forecasting by extending the understanding of past flash flood events, advancing and harmonising a European-wide innovative flash flood observation strategy; (iii) field monitoring of sediment transport, surface and sub-surface water regime, river-morphology dynamic in two experimental catchments which have been operating for twenty years; (iv) laboratory modelling and field testing of innovative actions and works to control erosion and their effects in populated areas. All researches are supported by local and national authorities.

Forests and climate change
Climate change is one of the most profound and complex issues affecting our society and economy today. Recent scientific developments suggest that the climate change problem may be even worse than previously feared. Despite continuing uncertainties about the detailed linkages, extreme weather events are increasingly being attributed to human interference, and greater emphasis is emerging on the need to prepare and adapt to climatic changes. Forest ecosystems play an essential role in determining the global carbon budget acting as a sink (most of the temperate forests) or as a source (i.e. deforestation and degradation in tropical forests). At DITESAF crucial topics under investigation deal with: (i) the meaning of climate change in a broad time scale perspective; (ii) the impacts of deforestation and forest degradation on global atmospheric carbon budget; (iii) the rapidly changing framework of policy and tools for managing carbon budget; (iv) the effects of elevated CO2 concentration on tree physiology and ecosystem dynamic; (v) the role of forest in mitigating the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Relevant staffing:
(i) Forest economics and marketing of forest products and services: Two full professors, 3 associate professors, 2 senior researchers, 2 post-docs, 3 doctoral candidates.
(ii) Forest hydrology and erosion control in mountain watersheds: Three full professors, 2 associate professors, 2 senior researchers, 2 post docs, 4 doctoral candidates.
(iii) Forest and climate change: Four full professors, 3 associate professors, 3 senior researchers, 1 post docs, 2 doctoral candidates.