Scientific Papers

Masood Awan HU & Pettenella D. Pine Nuts: A Review of Recent Sanitary Conditions and Market Development. Forests. 2017: 8(10), 367. DOI:

Chen D, Pereira JM, Masiero A. & Pirotti F. 2017. Mapping fire regimes in China using MODIS active fire and burned area data. Applied Geography, 85, 14-26.

Faqrul Islam Chowdhury, Carles Arteaga, Mohammed Shafiul Alam, Iftakharul Alam & Víctor Resco de Dios (2022). Drivers of nocturnal stomatal conductance in C3 and C4 plants. Science of The Total Environment 814 (2022) 151952.

Karavani A, Cáceres M, Aragón JM, Bonet JA & de-Miguel, S. Effect of climatic and soil moisture conditions on mushroom productivity ,and related ecosystem services in Mediterranean pine stands facing climate change. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology.2018: 248 (2018) 432–440.

Noumonvi K. D., Ferlan M., Eler K., Alberti G., Peressotti A. and Cerasoli S. 2019. Estimation of Carbon Fluxes from Eddy Covariance Data and Satellite-Derived Vegetation Indices in a Karst Grassland (Podgorski Kras, Slovenia). Remote Sensing, 11, 649. doi: 10.3390/rs11060649.


"The Eddy Covariance method (EC) is widely used for measuring carbon (C) and energy fluxes at high frequency between the atmosphere and the ecosystem, but has some methodological limitations and a spatial restriction to an area, called a footprint. Remotely sensed information is usually used in combination with eddy covariance data in order to estimate C fluxes over larger areas. In fact, spectral vegetation indices derived from available satellite data can be combined with EC measurements to estimate C fluxes outside of the tower footprint. Following this approach, the present study aimed to model C fluxes for a karst grassland in Slovenia. Three types of model were considered: (1) a linear relationship between Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE) or Gross Primary Production (GPP) and each vegetation index; (2) a linear relationship between GPP and the product of a vegetation index with PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation); and (3) a simplified LUE (Light Use-Efficiency) model assuming a constant LUE. We compared the performance of several vegetation indices derived from two remote platforms (Landsat and Proba-V) as predictors of NEE and GPP, based on three accuracy metrics, the coefficient of determination (R2), the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). Two types of aggregation of flux data were explored: midday average and daily average fluxes. The vapor pressure deficit (VPD) was used to separate the growing season into two phases, a wet and a dry phase, which were considered separately in the modelling process, in addition to the growing season as a whole. The results showed that NDVI is the best predictor of GPP and NEE during the wet phase, whereas water-related vegetation indices, namely LSWI and MNDWI, were the best predictors during the dry phase, both for midday and daily aggregates. Model 1 (linear relationship) was found to be the best in many cases. The best regression equations obtained were used to map GPP and NEE for the whole study area. Digital maps obtained can practically contribute, in a cost-effective way to the management of karst grasslands.

Keywords: eddy covariance; carbon flux; GPP; NEE; vegetation indices; remote sensing; satellite data; GPP map"

Tatek Dejene, Mohamed Samy Agamy, Dolores Agúndez  and Pablo Martin-Pinto. 2020. Ethnobotanical Survey of Wild Edible Fruit Tree Species in Lowland Areas of Ethiopia. Forests 11(2), 177.

This publication had the contribution of Mohamed Samy Agamy master thesis data. 


This study aimed to provide baseline information about wild edible tree species (WETs) through surveying of different ethnic groups in dryland areas in Ethiopia. Here the data about WETs are scant, and WETs status is unexplained under the rampant habitat degradation. Use forms, plant parts used, status, ethnobotanical knowledge, conservation needs as well as those threats affecting WETs were reviewed. The study identified 88 indigenous wild edible plants, of which 52 species were WETs. In most cases, fruits were found as the dominant use part, and they were used as raw but were occasionally cooked and preserved. Roots and bark uses are also reported from Ximenia americana and Racosperma melanoxylon respectively. June, July and August were critical periods observed for food shortage in most of the regions. However, in the Gambella region, food shortages occurred in most months of the year. The respondents in this region suggested that WETs could potentially provide them with enough food to make up for the shortage of food from conventional agricultural crops. From the respondents’ perception, Opuntia ficus-indica, Carissa edulis and Ficus vasta were among the most difficult to locate species, and they also received the highest conservation attention. Because of the variety of WETs and existing different threats, a management strategy is required for future conservation, as WETs are vital for the livelihood of local communities and are also necessary to devise a food security strategy for Ethiopia. The lesson obtained could also be useful in other dryland parts in developing countries with similar contexts.

Karavani A, Boer MM, Baudena M, Colinas C, Díaz‐Sierra R, Pemán J, de Martín L, Enríquez‐de‐Salamanca A & Resco de Dios. 2018. V. Fire‐induced deforestation in drought‐prone Mediterranean forests: drivers and unknowns from leaves to communities. Ecological Monographs. 2018: 1–29. DOI:


"Over the past 15 years, 3 million hectares of forests have been converted into shrublands or grasslands in the Mediterranean countries of the European Union. Fire and drought are the main drivers underlying this deforestation. Here we present a conceptual framework for the process of fire‐induced deforestation based on the interactive effects of fire and drought across three hierarchical scales: resistance in individuals, resilience in populations, and transitions to a new state. At the individual plant level, we review the traits that confer structural and physiological resistance, as well as allow for resprouting capacity: deforestation can be initiated when established individuals succumb to fire. After individuals perish, the second step toward deforestation requires a limited resilience from the population, that is, a reduced ability of that species to regenerate after fire. If individuals die after fire and the population fails to recover, then a transition to a new state will occur. We document trade‐offs between drought survival and fire survival, as embolism resistance is negatively correlated with fire tolerance in conifers and leaf shedding or drought deciduousness, a process that decreases water consumption at the peak of the dry season, temporally increases crown flammability. Propagule availability and establishment control resilience after mortality, but different hypotheses make contrasting predictions on the drivers of post‐fire establishment. Mycorrhizae play an additional role in modulating the response by favoring recovery through amelioration of the nutritional and water status of resprouts and new germinants. So far, resprouter species such as oaks have provided a buffer against deforestation in forests dominated by obligate seeder trees, when present in high enough density in the understory. While diversifying stands with resprouters is often reported as advantageous for building resilience, important knowledge gaps exist on how floristic composition interacts with stand flammability and on the “resprouter exhaustion syndrome,” a condition where pre‐fire drought stress, or short fire return intervals, seriously restrict post‐fire resprouting. Additional attention should be paid to the onset of novel fire environments in previously fire‐free environments, such as high altitude forests, and management actions need to accommodate this complexity to sustain Mediterranean forests under a changing climate."

Fardusi MJ, Ferrio JP, Comas C, Voltas J, Víctor Resco de Dios & Luis Serrano. Intra-specific association between carbon isotope composition and productivity in woody plants: a meta-analysis. Plant Science. 2016:  251:110-118. DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2016.04.005

Resco de Dios V, Mereed TE, Ferrio JP, Tissue DT & Voltas J. 2016. Intraspecific variation in juvenile tree growth under elevated CO2 alone and with O3: a meta-analysis. Tree Physiology. 2016: 36(6):682-93. DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpw026.


"Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are expected to increase throughout this century, potentially fostering tree growth. A wealth of studies have examined the variation in CO2 responses across tree species, but the extent of intraspecific variation in response to elevated CO2 (eCO2) has, so far, been examined in individual studies and syntheses of published work are currently lacking. We conducted a meta-analysis on the effects of eCO2 on tree growth (height, stem biomass and stem volume) and photosynthesis across genotypes to examine whether there is genetic variation in growth responses to eCO2 and to understand their dependence on photosynthesis. We additionally examined the interaction between the responses to eCO2 and ozone (O3), another global change agent. Most of the published studies so far have been conducted in juveniles and in Populus spp., although the patterns observed were not species dependent. All but one study reported significant genetic variation in stem biomass, and the magnitude of intraspecific variation in response to eCO2 was similar in magnitude to previous analyses on interspecific variation. Growth at eCO2 was predictable from growth at ambient CO2 (R2 = 0.60), and relative rankings of genotype performance were preserved across CO2 levels, indicating no significant interaction between genotypic and environmental effects. The growth response to eCO2 was not correlated with the response of photosynthesis (P > 0.1), and while we observed 57.7% average increases in leaf photosynthesis, stem biomass and volume increased by 36 and 38.5%, respectively, and height only increased by 9.5%, suggesting a predominant role for carbon allocation in ultimately driving the response to eCO2. Finally, best-performing genotypes under eCO2 also responded better under eCO2 and elevated O3. Further research needs include widening the study of intraspecific variation beyond the genus Populus and examining the interaction between eCO2 and other environmental stressors. We conclude that significant potential to foster CO2-induced productivity gains through tree breeding exists, that these programs could be based upon best-performing genotypes under ambient conditions and that they would benefit from an increased understanding on the controls of allocation."

Collado E, Camarero JJ, Martínez de Aragón J, Pemán J, Bonet JA, & De-Miguel S. Linking fungal dynamics, tree growth and forest management in a Mediterranean pine ecosystem. Forest Ecology and Management. 2018: 422, 223–232. DOI:

Md. Zulfikar Khan & Tommaso Chiti (2022). Soil carbon stocks and dynamics of different land uses in Italy using the LUCAS soil database. Journal of Environmental Management 306 (2022) 114452.

Taye ZM, Martínez-Peña F, Bonet JA, Martínez de Aragón J. & de-Miguel SJ. Meteorological conditions and site characteristics driving edible mushroom production in Pinus pinaster forests of Central Spain. Fungal Ecology.  2016: 23, 30-41

Zaits O & Poch RM. Micromorphology of organic matter and humus in Mediterranean mountain soils. Geoderma. 2016: 272 (2016) 83–92. DOI:

Shahin, H., Correia, A. H., Orazio, C., Branco, M., & Almeida, M. H. (2019). Monitoring two REINFFORCE Network Arboreta: first result on site, climate and genetic interaction showing impact on phenology and biotic damages. Scientia Forestalis, 47(123), 552-570.


"Understanding how climate affects tree phenology, biotic and abiotic vulnerability, is a most important research subject. Particularly, climate warming appears to lengthen the growing season, which may affect the exposition to insect pests and pathogens. Also, extreme weather events combined with shifts in phenology may have dramatic consequences, such as early leaf flushing exposure to freezing events. In this study 2 arboreta were followed in the south most distribution of the REINFFORCE Network (Lisbon and Sintra) for 3 species, one native (Quercus robur L.) and 2 non-native (Quercus rubra L. and Betula pendula Roth). Plant growth, leaf phenology and insect damage were assessed according to protocols defined under REINFFORCE project. Species x site interaction was found significant for survival and growth. Phenology differed between and within all species. No difference found for frost tolerance. B. pendula had earlier bud burst at both sites, resulting in a longer growth period, and higher stem growth, being least affected by insect damage, although survival was affected under higher temperature, where Q. robur performed better. This study corroborates the importance of REINFORCE arboreta network as a tool to assess climate change impact on forest species and support assisted migration considering climate change scenarios."

Filippo Santini, Luis Serrano, Shawn Carlisle Kefauver, Mamun Abdullah-Al, Mònica Aguilera, Ester Sin, Jordi Voltas. Morpho-physiological variability of Pinus nigra populations reveals climate-driven local adaptation but weak water use differentiation, Environmental and Experimental Botany, Volume 166, 2019, 103828.


"Disentangling patterns of intra-specific changes in morpho-physiological traits is crucial for understanding the capacity of tree populations to cope with human-induced environmental changes. This study combined well-established phenotyping techniques and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery to characterise the extent of intra-specific variation for an array of meaningful traits among 18 populations of Pinus nigra growing in a common-garden experiment in central Spain, subject to summer drought. Data for eight traits describing above-ground growth, intrinsic water-use efficiency, water uptake patterns and reserve accumulation were obtained for 210 adult individuals belonging to the subspecies lariciocalabricanigra and salzmanii. UAV imagery was used to derive seven vegetation indices describing canopy structure and photosynthetic pigments. A strong inter-population differentiation arising from adaptation to cold and continental conditions at the geographical origin of the populations was found for growth traits, reserve accumulation, chlorophyll concentration and leaf surface area. Fast-growing populations, originating from milder climates, emerged in contrast to slow-growing populations, originating from colder and more continental areas of the species range. The latter were characterised by higher leaf chlorophyll concentration and higher investment in reserves. Inter-population variation was highly structured at the subspecies level. Subspecies laricio and calabrica were characterised by a higher growth investment, but diverged in relative radial to primary growth allometry, whereas subspecies nigra and salzmanii showed the highest investment in reserves. Importantly, variation of traits related to water economy was negligible, both at the population and subspecies level, indicating that Mediterranean populations of P. nigra may lack specific adaptation to drought stress. These results provided valuable information in forecasting the performance of this species in the context of climate change. Specifically, they anticipated the potential vulnerability of Mediterranean populations of P. nigra to future reduction in water availability."

Enrica Alicandri, Anna Rita Paolacci, Samson Osadolor, Agostino Sorgonà, Maurizio Badiani and Mario Ciaffi. 2020. On the Evolution and Functional Diversity of Terpene Synthases in the Pinus Species: A Review. Journal of Molecular Evolution 88: 253–283. 


"In the biosynthesis of terpenoids, the ample catalytic versatility of terpene synthases (TPS) allows the formation of thousands of different molecules. A steadily increasing number of sequenced plant genomes invariably show that the TPS gene family is medium to large in size, comprising from 30 to 100 functional members. In conifers, TPSs belonging to the gymnosperm-specific TPS-d subfamily produce a complex mixture of mono-, sesqui-, and diterpenoid specialized metabolites, which are found in volatile emissions and oleoresin secretions. Such substances are involved in the defence against pathogens and herbivores and can help to protect against abiotic stress. Oleoresin terpenoids can be also profitably used in a number of different fields, from traditional and modern medicine to fine chemicals, fragrances, and flavours, and, in the last years, in biorefinery too. In the present work, after summarizing the current views on the biosynthesis and biological functions of terpenoids, recent advances on the evolution and functional diversification of plant TPSs are reviewed, with a focus on gymnosperms. In such context, an extensive characterization and phylogeny of all the known TPSs from different Pinus species is reported, which, for such genus, can be seen as the first effort to explore the evolutionary history of the large family of TPS genes involved in specialized metabolism. Finally, an approach is described in which the phylogeny of TPSs in Pinus spp. has been exploited to isolate for the first time mono-TPS sequences from Pinus nigra subsp. laricio, an ecologically important endemic pine in the Mediterranean area."

Gassibe PV, Oria-de-Rueda JA, Martín-Pinto P. 2015. P. pinaster under extreme ecological conditions provides high fungalproduction and diversity. Forest Ecology and Management. 2015: 337: 161–173. DOI:

Md Habibur Rahman Salman, Klaus Hellrigl, Stefano Minerbi, Andrea Battisti. 2016. Prolonged pupal diapause drives population dynamics of the pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) in an outbreak expansion area. Forest Ecology and Management,  361: 375-381.


"Due to its negative impact on tree growth and human health, pine processionary moth is a major concern for forest managers, especially in recent outbreak expansion areas. As some individuals have prolonged diapause for more than a single year, population dynamics of this species is hard to understand. To decipher the mechanism of prolonged diapause and its role in population dynamics, we started a pest surveillance program in 1999 in a pine processionary population in the southern-central Alps of northern Italy, a recent range expansion zone for the species. The 16-year study used a pheromone trap network and four large rearing cages. We found some individuals could diapause for up to a maximum of seven years. With few exceptions, prolonged pupal diapause increased and retrieval rate of moth in cages decreased with increasing elevation. Moreover, we found prolonged diapausing individuals to emerge in advance of non-diapausing individuals. This trait allowed us to infer the proportion of prolonged diapausing individuals caught in the pheromone traps. Prolonged diapause was responsible for maintaining high population density for eight years in spite of annual applications of the biocontrol agent Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki. This sustained density relied on individuals from cohorts before the application of insecticide started, and from cohorts not completely suppressed by the insecticide applications.

Keywords: Pinus nigra, Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, Pheromone trap, Range edge, Alps, Prolonged diapause"

Choury Z, Shestakova TA, Himrane H, Touchan R, Kherchouche D, Camarero JJ & Voltas J. Quarantining the Sahara desert: growth and water-use efficiency of Aleppo pine in the Algerian Green Barrier. Eur J Forest Res. 2016: 136 (1) 139–152. DOI:

Sgrigna G., Baldacchini C.,Dreveck S., Cheng Z., Calfapietra C. 2020. Relationships between air particulate matter capture efficiency and leaf traits in twelve tree species from an Italian urban-industrial environment, Science of The Total Environment,Volume 718.

With contributions from the Master Thesis of Susana Dreveck ​

Abstract: Air pollution in the urban environment is widely recognized as one of the most harmful threats for human health. International organizations such as the United Nations and the European Commission are highlighting the potential role of nature in mitigating air pollution and are now funding the implementation of Nature-Based Solutions, especially at the city level. Over the past few decades, the attention of the scientific community has grown around the role of urban forest in air pollution mitigation. Nevertheless, the understanding on Particulate Matter (PM) retention mechanisms by tree leaves is still limited. In this study, twelve tree species were sampled within an urban park of an industrial city. Two techniques were used for leaf analysis: Vacuum/Filtration and Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, in order to obtain a quali-quantitative analysis of the different PM size fractions. Results showed that deposited PM loads vary significantly among species. Different leaf traits, including micro and macromorphological characteristics, were observed, measured and ranked, with the final aim to relate them with PM load. Even if no significant correlation between each single leaf characteristic and PM deposition was observed (p > 0.05), multivariate analysis revealed relationships between clusters of leaf traits and deposited PM. Thus, by assigning a score to each trait, an Accumulation index (Ai) was calculated, which was significantly related to the leaf deposited PM load (p ≤ 0.05).
Keywords: Nature-based solutions; Particulate matter; Air quality; Leaf morphology; Scanning electron microscopy

Martín-Alcón S, Coll L & Salekin S. Stand-level drivers of tree-species diversification in Mediterranean pine forests after abandonment of traditional practices. Forest Ecology and Management. 2015: 353: 107-117.

Martín A, Botequim B, Oliveira TM, Ager A, Pirotti F. Temporal optimisation of fuel treatment design in blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) plantation. Forest Systems. 2016: 25(2): eRC09.

Borges, J. G., L. Diaz-Balteiro, M. E. McDill and L. C. E. Rodriguez (Eds) 2014 The management of industrial forest plantations. Theoretical foundations and applications. Springer, Managing Forest Ecosystems Vol. 33, 543 p.


(MEDfOR student in the acknowledgments)

Segalina G., Dang C. N.,  Sierra-de-Grado R. 2020. Thinning scenarios to reconcile biodiversity conservation and socio-economic co-benefits in protected forest of Vietnam: effects on habitat value and timber yield. Asian Journal of Forestry. 4: 22-35.


Abstract. Segalina F, Dang CN, Grado RSD2020. Thinning scenarios to reconcile biodiversity conservation and socio-economic co-benefits in protected forest of Vietnam: effects on habitat value and timber yield. Forest protection policy since the 1990s in Vietnam has led to an overall increase in forest cover, but has also adversely impacted the livelihoods of local populations and has displaced deforestation to neighboring countries. As such, it is necessary to explore strategies to achieve sustainable utilization of tropical forests in a way that is compatible with the preservation of biodiversity. One of which is by selective thinning. This study aimed to analyze the habitat and economic value of the trees in a forest block, then comparing the effects of four thinning scenarios on profit and habitat value. We simulated four thinning scenarios and assessed their effects on biodiversity and economic value. The scenarios were defined according to two criteria: tree dominance and tree habitat value. The study took place in a one-hectare plot of marteloscope located in a naturally regenerated mixed forest enriched with native tree species. The habitat value, evaluated by tree-related microhabitats, was used as a proxy for biodiversity. In our study, as many 58 different tree species were found within the marteloscope. Co-dominant trees with a higher diameter at breast height yielded the highest average habitat value, which coincides weakly with findings in temperate forests. In our study, the biodiversity conservation criterion had only a marginal effect on economic benefit. Both results together show that a meeting point between profitability and biodiversity conservation is possible.

Bagaram MB, Giuliarelli D, Gherardo C, Giannetti F & Barbati A. UAV Remote Sensing for Biodiversity Monitoring: Are Forest Canopy Gaps Good Covariates? Remote Sensing. 2018: 10 (9), 1397. DOI:

Gidey T, Oliveira TS, Crous-Duran J & Palma HN. Using the Yield-SAFE model to assess the impacts of climate change on yield of coffee (Coffea arabica L.) under agroforestry and monoculture systems. 2019. DOI:


Sergio Rodríguez Fernández 2023. "A proposal and test of a participatory multi-criteria approach with GIS-based AHP to detect high priority areas to facilitate suppression efforts against wildfires – An application in Portugal". Master Thesis. The University of Lisbon.


Prof. José Calvão Borges (CEF - ISA)  &  José Ramón González Olabarría (CTFC - Solsona)


Olha Nahorna 2020. Addressing forest ecosystem management planning concerns with linear programming. An application in Portugal. Master Thesis.  The University of Lisbon -  School of Agriculture. 


Professor José Guilherme Martins Dias Calvão Borges

Forest management is an extremely complex process that requires the combination of various techniques, practices and methods in order to achieve given environmental, economic and social objectives. Linear programming (LP) is one of the most widely used optimization methods that assists forest managers in the process of the decision-making. The use of alternative formulations of the LP model may help acquire insights about the forest ecosystem management planning problem, may thus lead to better plans.
This work presents the study of influence of different LP model formulation on the design of the management plan and on economic values, timber flow, tree species distribution, total carbon stock, cork extracted, biodiversity and cultural services. A total of 16 model formulations (scenarios) were considered for the analysis. Scenarios were obtained by changing the objective function and by adding of management related constraints. The set of objective functions included the minimization of costs, the maximization of the net present value (NPV) over the planning horizon, the ending inventory value (EIV), and the total present value (PVFI = NPV + EIV). The set of constraints included 10% timber even-flow constraints and timber targets per period and per tree species. The study area was Vale do Sousa, Portugal.
The results of the study demonstrated that the LP model formulation has a substantial influence on the proposal of management plan. It allowed to check the trade-offs between economic criteria and changes in timber flows, tree species distribution, extracted cork and carbon stock. Biodiversity and cultural services remained at the same level across scenarios. Results suggest the importance of using alternative formulations to acquire information about the management plan and to explore responses to alternative scenarios and to make better decisions.

Dagm Fikir Abate. 2020. An ecological-economic approach to assess impacts of Eucalyptus Woodlot Expansion in Agroforest Landscapes of Northern Ethiopia. Master Thesis.  The University of Lisbon -  School of Agriculture


Professor José Guilherme Martins Dias Calvão Borges

Dr Susete Maria Gonçalves Marques 

The study is the first optimization-based case study for forest plantations in Ethiopia, aimed at providing evidence to support economic and environment outcome-based decisions for management of existing as well as future Eucalyptus plantations to be established by converting current crop lands in the agroforest landscapes of Wogera district, Northern Ethiopia. The study is based on inventory data collected from 60 sample plots of Eucalyptus plantation and neighboring crop land distributed across the case study area. The collected data were organized and analyzed to produce a yield table and cashflows over a nine-year planning horizon. Twelve different linear programming models well developed and analyzed for single objective optimization (mainly LEV maximization), whereas Pareto Frontier tool was used to analyze the tradeoff. The main finding was that as far as the objective is to maximize the total economic gain from the sale of Eucalyptus wood poles, Eucalyptus plantation is the best and feasible land use as compared to the crop production alternative, and thus, favors a complete conversion of the available crop land into Eucalyptus woodlot. In order to at least meet the annual crop production / consumption requirements of households in the case study area, the total land area under Eucalyptus should be limited to 1772 ha (out of the total 1987 ha). However, this land cover limit should be decreased to 921 ha so as to limit the total annual water use (used for biomass production) below the amount available from rainfall. The current study also showed the potential application of Pareto Frontier to analyze the tradeoff among multiple objectives in Ethiopian context; and found that maximizing the harvested wood volume or LEV would come at the cost of decreased aboveground carbon stock and volume of ending inventory and higher total water use. It also provides different optimal pareto front points among which decision makers will be able to select their preferred targets.
Keywords: Eucalyptus Woodlot, Carbon Stock, Crop Production, Water Use, Optimization

Mohamed Samy Abdel-Hamed Agamy. 2019. Wild edible tree species in lowland, Ethiopia. Master Thesis, University of Valladolid, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenierías Agrarias, University of Valladolid. Spain.

Advisors: Pablo Martín Pinto. 


"Aim of study: to provide baseline information about wild edible tree species (WETs) and their main threats, this will help to develop conservation and management strategies of important species in Ethiopia.
Area of study: It focused mainly on dry land part of Ethiopia where information about wild WETs is scanty and their status is unknown under the rampant degradation of the habitats.
Main results: documentation of important wild edible tree species, their main uses, and the conclusions related to their status, socioeconomic aspects and conservation needs as well as the factors affecting WETs and the way forward.
Research highlights: the study showed a total of 88 WETs and their utilization aspects among different ethnical groups in dry land area of the Ethiopia. Moreover, due to the diversity of WETs and the existing threats, effort has to be done for their future conservation to reach a food security strategy in the country. The associated knowledge with the WETs is also found to be important for the livelihood of the local communities. Thus, this paper can serve as baseline information and indicator for further studies and documentation of WETs in Ethiopia. This could also be useful in other dry land parts in developing countries with similar contexts."

Logan Bingham. 2020. Additionality, Efficiency, and Spatial Targeting for Ecosystem Services Auctions. Systematic review, expert consultation, and application to European case studies. Master Thesis. The University of Lisbon -  School of Agriculture.


José Guilherme Borges (University of Lisbon)
Riccardo Da Re (University of Padova)
Mara Thiene (University of Padova)

Background: Auction methods have attracted growing interest as a means of overcoming information asymmetries to efficiently allocate contracts involving payments for ecosystem services (PES). However, evidence-based practical information is scarce and research priorities are unclear.
Objective: Through four studies, this thesis synthesizes current knowledge on ES auctions, applies it to case studies drawn from two international European research projects (NOBEL and SINCERE), and proposes several possibilities for a novel mechanism based on the ECOSEL approach developed by Tóth et al. (2010).
Summary: Study 1 consists of a systematic review of the ES auction literature published in the last decade. Study 2 uses these results to design and implement a consultation with 35 international experts using the Delphi method. Study 3 applies these lessons to three NOBEL and SINCERE auction cases, highlighting key design innovations. Study 4 presents a theoretical critique of the ECOSEL approach, identifying several important limitations in the mechanism and suggesting modifications (primarily drawn from choice modelling and voting methods theory) to address them.
Conclusion: Theoretical integration and empirical testing of the suggested ECOSEL modifications is a reasonable next step. Generally, the potential for innovative allocation mechanisms to improve PES efficiency is highlighted, but risks should be carefully considered. Further scholarly attention—particularly relating to practical guidance, ethics, and legitimacy issues—is strongly indicated.

Keywords: payments for ecosystem services; auctions; Pareto methods; efficiency; additionality; spatial targeting

Khánh Linh Duong 2023. "Addressing congestion in the Cansiglio forest (North-East Italy) via introduction of parking fees". Master Thesis. The University of Lleida.

Supervisors: Prof. Sergio de Miguel (University of Lleida, Spain) and Prof. Mara Thiene (University of Padova, Italy)


The issue of congestion in the Cansiglio forest has become increasingly pressing due to a significant surge in tourist numbers seeking entertainment and the enjoyment of its exceptional ecosystem services, especially in the post-COVID-19 era. One of the contemplated solutions to address this matter is the implementation of parking fees in Cansiglio, aiming to alleviate traffic congestion and generate revenue to conserve and enhance ecosystem services in the area. The objective of this study is to investigate the characteristics and preferences of visitors regarding ecosystem services and their attitudes toward payments for parking fees if applied in Cansiglio. A questionnaire-based on-site survey was conducted at the Cansiglio forest in the northern region of Italy to ascertain specific information about the density of visitors to the forest and influences of weather on the number of visits, factors contributing to congestion in the Cansiglio forest, motivators influencing tourists' decisions to explore the forest, and the significance of Ecosystem Services (ES) as motivators, and finally, the fee level that gain the highest paying agreement among visitors regarding parking fees and the most preferred payment method. The results revealed that congestion peak is in August, especially during weekends. Weather conditions significantly influence visitors' travel decisions, and factors such as a high volume of car traffic and relatively long stays ranging from 4 to 6 hours up to a day contribute to congestion in Cansiglio. Visitors come to Cansiglio with various purposes, with hiking and picnicking being predominant, emphasizing the profound importance of well-managed ES in the area. A significant portion of visitors expressed agreement with a parking fee of 3 euro, with the preferred payment method depending on visitor demographics, either through Telepass or Parking meter. An in-depth understanding of these characteristics provides valuable and insightful information for future management strategies in the study area.

Cátia Sofia Vieira reis. 2016. Addressing wildfire risk in forest management with a wildfire resistance indicator. Master Thesis, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa. Lisbon, Portugal.
Advisors: Prof. José Calvão Borges

Madina Tokmurzina (2023). “Allometry of urban trees: a comparative analysis of Cedrus atlantica ((Endl.) G.Manetti ex Carrière) and Platanus × hispanica (Münchh) in Palencia (Spain)".

Master thesis at the University of Valladolid, Spain.

Supervisors: Prof. Felipe Bravo Oviedo (University of Valladolid) and Prof. Hans Pretzsch (Technical University of Munich).

Deniz Çolak 2014. Analysis of the performance of the 3-PG model for Scots pine in Turkey. University of Lisbon. Lisbon, Portugal.

Advisors: Maria Margarida Branco de Brito Tavares Tomé and  Ana Paula Soares Marques de Carvalho

Razieh  Ebadati Esfahani 2020. Applying Ellenberg's indicator values to the study of green roofs installed with native plants. Master Thesis. The University of Lisbon -  School of Agriculture.


Prof. Maria Teresa Gomes Afonso do Paço

Prof. Ana Paula Ferreira Ramos

Horizon 2020 policies and objectives for urban management, including energy conservation and increase of biodiversity, growing interest, and cities need to build sustainable green roofs in urban spaces, have led to advanced scientific research in this area. This has also induced a more specific choice of plant species and nature-based solutions to be used. In North Europe, North America, and Asia, extensive green roofs are generally part of the new building design, while they are still uncommon in the Mediterranean area. Environmental conditions can be limiting for the expansion of green roofs in those areas. The use of native species, given their high diversity and adaptations to environmental stresses, can be a sustainable solution, both in terms of biodiversity and economics. This study seeks to examine the native plant survival rate results, flowering duration and intensity, and green cover areas of three green roof projects NativeScapeGR, apiWall, and apiMat conducted separately from 2016 to 2020 at the University of Lisbon. Furthermore, we used Ellenberg's indicator values for the plants chosen to propose a list of suitable natives for green roofs.
Among all species evaluated, only Antirrhinum linkianum, Brachypodium phoenicoides, Briza maxima, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Chrysanthemum coronarium, Foeniculum vulgare, Lavandula stoechas, Rosmarinus officinalis, and Sedum sediforme showed favorable results, based on the results of NativeScapeGR, apiWall, and apiMat projects and Ellenberg's indicator.
This research presents a reliable method for selecting wild plant species (non or less irrigated than the species more commonly available commercially) and design patterns for extensive green roofs based on ecological and nature-based characteristics.

Muhammad Ishfaq 2019. Assessing Coherence between the National Forest Policy and UNFF Goals: the case study of Pakistan.  Master Thesis, Università Degli Studi di Padova. Padua, Italy.

Advisors: Prof. Davide Matteo Pettenella and Prof. Francesco Carbone

Noelia López García 2018. Assessing ecosystem functioning on Mediterranean forests in the context of Global Change: the case study of Mont Ventoux (France)​. Master Thesis, University of Lleida. Lleida, Spain.
Advisors:  Dr. Hendrik Davi, Dr. François Lefèvre INRA-PACA, France and Prof. Jose-Antonio Bonet, University of Lleida. Lleida, Spain.

Rankeshwarnath Sanjay Mishr 2023. "Assessing policy and governance aspects for the implementation of Nature-Based Solution (NBS) to manage Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem (WEFE) Nexus in a Mediterranean watershed". Master Thesis. The University of Padova.

Supervisor: Prof. Mauro Masiero

Co-Supervisors: Dr. Giorgia Bottaro and Caterina Righetti


Addressing the vital intersection of Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem (WEFE) Nexus through the lens of policy and governance, this thesis marks a pivotal contribution to sustainable resource management and ecological resilience. It underscores the importance of harmonizing environmental stewardship with human development and well-being. Focused on the Pinios River Basin (PRB) in Thessaly, North-Western Greece, the study embarks on a thorough investigation of policy and governance frameworks essential for Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) within the WEFE Nexus. Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, encompassing stakeholder questionnaires, interviews, and workshops, the research provides a comprehensive evaluation of governance structures, policy frameworks, and management practices related to NBS in the PRB, guided by the specialized framework developed by the University of Padova under the LENSES project. The analysis reveals a 76% effectiveness in 'Conducive Governance Arrangements,' highlighting the need for more streamlined responsibilities and participatory approaches. 'Supportive Policies' are notably effective, achieving a 100% score and demonstrating strong alignment with EU and national frameworks. However, the 'Supporting Policies' dimension, while solid at 75% effectiveness, requires enhancements to better serve human well-being and rights. High scores in 'Appropriate Regulatory Environment' and 'Technical Capacity' suggest a supportive climate for NBS in Greece, but also indicate a need for further specialization in NBS education. Significant gaps in 'Access to Finance' and 'NBS Management' emphasize the need for improved project management and financial legal frameworks. The study recommends establishing dedicated governance bodies, enhancing continuous education, and developing adaptive strategies for sustainable NBS. Concluding, the thesis calls for future research focused on the practical implementation of these recommendations, exploring innovative financing and measurement methods, and conducting longitudinal studies to assess the impact of governance changes on NBS practices, with potential applications extending from Greece to a global scale."

Diego Antonio Martinez de la Cruz 2014. Assessing public and private sector involvement in the use and conservation of agrobiodiversity: A Bolivian case study. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Paola Gatto, University of Padua.

Nouha Ghobber 2014. Assessing soil structure and porosity under different soil management strategies through micromorphology. Master Thesis, University of Lleida, Lleida, Spain.
Advisors: Dr. Rosa M Poch Claret and Dr. Àngela D. Bosch Serra, University of Lleida.

Srijana Poudel 2023. "Assessing the impact of forest management alternatives on wildfire resistance. An application to forest stands in Vale do Sousa, Portugal". Master Thesis. The University of Lisbon.


Prof. José Calvão Borges and Dr. Susete Marques

Reeya Agrawal 2023. Assessment of ecosystem service verification according to FSC standards in the Mediterranean countries". Master Thesis. The University of Padova.


Dr. Mauro Masiero


Conserving and valuing nature resources, including forest ones is a pressing global development issue. Forest sustainability standards and certifications, like those promoted by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), foster responsible forest management. After the publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and under the increasing concerns due to the global climate and biodiversity crises, the ecosystem services (ES) concept has gained momentum within the research and policy arena. Within this, the FSC system has expanded its scope to encompass the intangible benefits associated with forest management. Although many ES are difficult to assess, quantify and certify due to their complexity, intangibility and (often) public good nature, appropriate market-based instruments, like voluntary certifications, can help internalize them. The integration of certification and ES verification within the FSC system represents an ongoing effort to address the complexities of quantifying and certifying the ES associated with forest management, thus creating opportunities to remunerate forest owners/managers providing them. The objective of this study is to investigate the state of the art of ES verification according to FSC. The FSC ES procedure within the Mediterranean region, i.e., in the five countries currently hosting forests that have been verified according to this procedure: Croatia, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. This includes, among others, analyzing the types of verified ES, the number of certificates issued, the indicators and methodologies employed to assess positive impacts of forest management on ES over time. An assessment framework was developed for this. FSC certificate holder database was used to extract information from publicly available audit reports. Each public report from every certificate holder was analyzed to extract the information and feed the assessment framework. Both quantitative and qualitative analysis methodologies were used to analyze data collected and draw conclusions about ES verification in the Mediterranean region. Our study reveals that the Mediterranean region is witnessing a growing interest in ES verification within the FSC framework, albeit with significant variations among countries. Italy emerges as a pioneer, covering all five ES categories, emphasizing the importance of considering the broader ecosystem context in forest management decisions. However, the scope of ES verification remains limited in some countries, suggesting a potential lack of awareness, readiness among forest owners, or competing timber-focused priorities. Biodiversity and Carbon sequestration appear to be the most popular and desired ES, likely driven by specific policy initiatives and market opportunities. We also identified a significant diversity of methodologies employed in ES assessment within the FSC framework. Key findings include varying interest levels, diverse ES categories, and methodologies, with Italy leading in comprehensive verification. Economic implications remain underexplored, emphasizing the need for standardized assessments. We recommend periodic studies, close collaboration between stakeholders, and better procedural and methodological consistency. This research underscores the dynamic nature of ES verification and its potential to contribute to sustainability goals while identifying areas for further development.

Mehzabin  Rupa 2015. Association between ambrosia fungi and wood-boring beetles in Italy. Master Thesis, University of Padova. Padova, Italy.
Advisors: Prof. Andrea Battisti and Prof. Davide Rassati, University of Padova.

Ilaria Dalla Vecchia 2014. Attività illegali e non sostenibili nel settore forestale in Italia: i casi studio delle regioni Lombardia, Lazio e Calabria. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy. Advisor: Prof. Dr. Laura Secco, University of Padua.

Darjusch Sanktjohanser (2023). "Automatic stand delineation of protective coniferous stands"

Master thesis at the University of Valladolid, Spain.

Supervisor: Prof. José Arturo Reque Kilchenmann (University of Valladolid)

Anush Stepanyan (2023). "Climate change impact on the fruiting phenology of two edible fungal species in Mediterranean forests". Master thesis at the University of Lleida, Spain.

Supervisors: Prof. Sergio de Miguel and Albert Morera

Muha Abdullah Al Pavel 2017. Climate impact on early growth of Pinus pinaster Ait. University of Valladolid, Spain. Master Thesis, University of Valladolid. Valladolid, Spain
Advisor: Dr. Felipe Bravo Oviedo and Ing. Cristobal Ordonez Alonso.

Ani Ahmetaj 2023. "Comparative Analysis of Handheld, UAV-Mounted, and PNOA LiDAR Data for Forest Inventory and Assessment in Mixed Forests of Spain". Master Thesis. The University of Valladolid.


Prof. Felipe Bravo Oviedo and Frederico Tupinambá Simões


Forest inventories play a critical role in understanding forest ecosystems and drafting sustainable management strategies. Traditional methods of obtaining such inventories often involve labor-intensive field measurements, which can be time-consuming and resource intensive. This thesis explores the potential of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technologies to supplement or replace traditional methods. The technologies studied include handheld mobile laser scanning (HMLS), Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)-based laser scanning (ULS), and Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS). The research aims to evaluate the reliability and effectiveness of these LiDAR-derived data by comparing them with traditional field measurements.
The study was conducted in the Llano de San Marugan marteloscope, a mixed forest plot in Valladolid, Spain. LiDAR data were collected using HMLS, ULS (at two different altitudes), and ALS data from the Spanish National Plan of Aerial Orthophotography (PNOA). The collected data underwent pre-processing and segmentation, followed by the calculation of Diameter at Breast Height (DBH), tree height, crown diameter, crown area, and crown volume. These calculations were performed for 170 Pinus pinea trees located in the study area, with data corresponding to other tree species being discarded.
The results of the thesis reveal that the choice of LiDAR technology significantly impacts the accuracy of the derived data. HMLS data was found to provide more precise measurements for individual tree variables like DBH and tree height. On the other hand, ULS data was more suitable for evaluating crown variables, which are crucial for biomass equations and estimations. ALS data, while easier to process in large quantities due to its low point cloud density, was not as accurate in determining individual tree variables.
The thesis also highlights some of the challenges associated with using LiDAR technologies in forest inventories. Although LiDAR technologies may reduce the amount of field work necessary, they can increase the amount of office work required for data processing. Furthermore, the study's findings demonstrate that different LiDAR methodologies have varying degrees of effectiveness in different forest types, emphasizing the need for further research and development in this area.
This thesis demonstrates the potential of LiDAR technologies to provide accurate and efficient forest inventories, however it also underscores the need to carefully select and apply these technologies based on specific forest types and inventory requirements. As forest management continues to evolve in the face of growing demands for sustainability, studies like this one offer valuable insights into the tools and techniques that can support these important efforts.

Michael Boateng Ottie. 2019. Comparative analysis of salinity tolerance in Tamarix africana and Tamarix gallica originating from two Italian provenances  Master Thesis, University of Tuscia. Tuscia, Italy

Advisors:  Prof. Paolo De Angelis and Dr. Dario Liberati


"In recent times, one of the starring abiotic stresses for plant survival in the ecosystem is salinity. This has resulted in massive loss of habitat, biodiversity, native vegetation and water resource value. Halophytes form 2% of plants and can tolerate 200-1000mM levels of salt concentration. Among them is Tamarix species which have been reported to be highly tolerant to salinity, occupying coastal dunes and the riverbanks of Southern Italy. They are use in the conservation and restoration practices under the perspectives of global climate changes. Different authors carried out experiments on Tamarix species, however their tolerance to salinity stresses are incompletely known or few studies reported. To address this gap, this thesis analyses the salinity tolerance in different provenances of Tamarix africana and Tamarix gallica available in the EcoPhysLab in-vivo collection. Here, we analyse the growth and physiological responses of Tamarix africana and Tamarix gallica of two Italian provenances (Simeto and Basento) over time across saline treatments (control, 200 mM, and 550 mM).
The finding of this study showed treatment effects on Tamarix species for cumulative shoot length, dominant shoot length, stem diameter and harvest biomass in both
Basento and Simeto provenances. The study shows that under control treatment, Tamarix africana had 5.2% average leaves biomass and 2.3% wood biomass more than Tamarix gallica. On the other hand, Tamarix gallica had 13.4% average leaves biomass in moderate salinity and 27% average wood biomass in high salinity more than Tamarix africana. Furthermore, Tamarix gallica had 7.5% average root biomass in control and 13.5% average root biomass in high salinity more than Tamarix africana. Under moderate, salinity Tamarix africana had 2.5% average root biomass more than Tamarix gallica. The study also indicates that Tamarix gallica had the ability to resist high saline stress as compared to Tamarix africana. Furthermore, the study also revealed physiological decline of Tamarix species in both Basento and Simeto provenances over time across moderate and high saline treatments. At the end of the experiment, the average quantity of salt accumulated outside the twigs of Tamarix species increased from 31.05 mg/g in control, to 112.21 mg/g in moderate and 169.24 mg/g in high salinity treatment. Under control, Tamarix gallica salt accumulated outside the twigs was 39.8% more than Tamarix africana. Similarly, in moderate salinity Tamarix gallica salt accumulated outside the twigs was 25.0% as well as 9.7% in high salinity more than Tamarix africana. The results of the study provide additional information about the intrinsically fascinating Tamarix africana and Tamarix gallica at both Basento and Simeto provenances in Italy as well as new insights for the conservation and restoration of potential fragile ecosystems, such as those occupied by Tamarix species. This ability has increasing potential in a world where the human population is still increasing and land use practices and changes in the climate are likely to lead to increased salinization of the land surface in many regions."

Vishnupriya Santhosh 2023. "Comparing the foraging behaviour of red and fallow deer in Mediterranean oak woodlands". Master Thesis. The University of Lisbon.


Prof. Miguel Bugalho


This study focuses on the foraging behaviour of red deer and fallow deer in a Mediterranean montado system, where the interaction of climate, flora, and animal behaviour determines deer eating patterns. Red and fallow deer, which coexist in several montado ecosystems, may differ in their foraging behaviour responses to seasonal constraints. We try to contribute to filling this knowledge gap, by comparing the foraging behaviour of sympatric red and fallow deer using a camera trap photography methodological approach. The results show that both red and fallow deer exhibit reduced grazing in spring compared to winter, contrary to expectations of more grazing during spring. A dry year's lack of vegetation in the herbage layer and high air temperatures may have impacted deer forage behaviour. According to photographic records, male and female grazing patterns of both red and fallow deer changed from winter to spring. Male red deer have a higher propensity for browsing on the tree canopy than fallow deer, which may be related to their larger size. Juveniles of either red or fallow deer were rarely recorded browsing, which suggests that they prefer digestible grasses in their diets. Most deer feeding sightings were recorded by the camera between the range of 10- 15 ºC in winter and 15- 20 ºC in spring. The seasonal change in group sizes is highlighted by group behaviour analysis. Winter groups of red deer and fallow deer tend to be larger due to lower atmospheric temperature. There was no statistically significant difference in red deer group sizes between winter and spring, indicating that complex relationships may have influenced their social interactions. This study contributes to a more thorough knowledge of these species’ adaptive strategies in response to changing environmental conditions by addressing the intricacies of ecological relationships.

Anna Liubachyna 2014. Cross-sectoral policy effects on forests and environment: preliminary analysis. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Laura Secco, University of Padua.

Giuseppe Baldassarre. 2020. Describing fire regimes over Turkey using MODIS fire Observations. Master Thesis. The University of Lleida - School of Agrifood, Forestry Science and Engineering.


Prof. Jose M.C. Pereira, ISA 
Prof. Pedro Silva, ISA
Prof. Jose Antonio Bonet, UdL.

The MODerate resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) sensor on board of TERRA and AQUA satellites has already been employed successfully to study fire regime characteristics and their potential drivers at the global and the regional level. Here we propose a mapping of fire regimes over Turkey by taking advantages of the most recent versions of both the active fire (MCD14ML) and burned area (MCD64A1) products derived from the MODIS sensor during the period from 2003 to 2019.
Using these two datasets we computed eight fire regime variables at the spatial resolution of the Turkish provinces: incidence, inter-annual variability, seasonality and intensity. Furthermore, we characterized the Turkish provinces in terms of two antecedent variables, anthromes and climate types, using adapted high resolution maps recently released.
By mean of principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering we reduced the dimensionality of the fire regime variables and identified three main groups of provinces with distinct characteristics. Then we further characterized these groups with the antecedent variables in order to infer anthropic and climatic drivers.
Three out of four of the MODIS active fires were detected in croplands, suggesting regular use of fire as land management tool. Two out of three of the cropland active fires were recorded in residential irrigated croplands, underling the role of the percentage of rural population and water availability in boosting the agricultural burning dynamics. Three out of four the MODIS active fires were recorded in temperate dry-summer climate while irrelevant burning activity was observed over the cold and humid Black Sea provinces.
Half of the observed activity was recorded in only five of the eighty-one Turkish provinces, between Central and South-Est Anatolia, mainly coinciding with patterns of residential irrigated croplands, and characterized by regular, unimodal, summer seasons. Fires in the cold and dry croplands and rangelands of Central and East Anatolia are concentrated in short, irregular fire seasons with peak activity during the summer. The more populated provinces of West Anatolia, dominated by croplands and forests in temperate climate are characterized by more regular and longer fire season, often bi-modal with main peak in non-summer months, and low energetic occurrences. Energetic forest fires area associated with the Mediterranean forests of South Anatolia in summer time. Here climate change dynamics is increasing the risk of large episodes.
Keywords: Fire regimes, Remote sensing, MODIS, Principal component analysis, Cluster analysis, Fire drivers, Turkey, Pyrogeography

Motaz A. Abdelaziz 2018. Discovering the environmental factors affecting the distribution of Terfezia claveryi Chatin in the Northwest of the Region of Murcia. Master Thesis, University of Lleida. Lleida, Spain.
Advisors: Prof. Dr. Asuncion Morte and Dr. Alfonso Navarro, the University of Murcia, Prof. Jose-Antonio Bonet, University of Lleida. Lleida, Spain.

Mireille Ginésy 2023. Drosophila suzukii in organic agriculture - Alternative management options in cherry orchards and strawberry plantations. Master Thesis. The University of Valladolid.


Professor Julio Diez (University of Valladolid, Spain) and Sophie Joy Ondet (GRAB - Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique, France)

Araceli. Ruiz Guillamón 2014. Drought response assessment of 3 cork oak provenances. Master Thesis, University of Lisbon. Lisbon, Portugal.
Advisors: Dr. Alexandra F. Marques and Dr. Miguel Sottomayor

Solveigh Koekkoek 2023. "Economic incentives to promote wildfire risk prevention - A systematic literature review". Master Thesis. University of Lisbon.

Supervisors: Prof. Maria João Canadas and Prof. José Manuel Lima e Santos


Prevention is recognized as essential to deal with the increasing importance of wildfires. The promotion of wildfires prevention is however scantly studied. This study provides a literature review on wildfire prevention in an effort to examine policy dimensions, -types, and measures to prevent wildfires.
Multiple correspondence analysis and cluster analysis have been used to get policy dimensions and types. These analyses reveal that three factorial dimensions are sufficient to capture essential relationships, which account for approximately 85% of the inertia. The first dimension pertains to the presence or absence of economic incentives in policies. The second dimension distinguishes between grazing and forest management, with landowners receiving funding for land use conversion and farmers primarily focusing on grazing. The third dimension highlights the choice between market and public solutions, with private sector-funded market mechanisms opposing public mechanisms.
The dimensions of individuals and the association with active and supplementary variables are explored. When no economic incentives are in play, laws and regulation and information and training are the most commonly used policy mechanisms. When certification and market mechanisms are used, payments are often result-based, and implemented by the private sector. The second dimension shows articles that have a strong link to policies and use a positive study approach, which implies that grazing and forest management are well-studied subjects.
The study faces limitations due to the small number of relevant articles, potential outliers, and challenges in interpretation. It emphasizes the need for a larger sample size to increase reliability, diverse search strategies to capture more relevant articles, and standardized terminology to facilitate categorization.
In conclusion, the study contributes valuable insights into the complexity and diversity of wildfire prevention policies. It emphasizes the significance of economic incentives, the choice between grazing and forest management, and the role of market solutions versus public mechanisms. Despite limitations, this research lays a foundation for further exploration.

Cynthia  Carolina Zurita Veliz. 2020. Ecosystem Public Services incentive schemes for Agricultural and Forestry Private Management in Developing Countries: A Review. Master Thesis. The University of Lleida - School of Agrifood, Forestry Science and Engineering

Dr. José-Antonio Bonet (Universitat de Lleida)
Dr. Miguel Sottomayor (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)

Recent awareness regarding the importance of Ecosystem Services has given attention to the challenge of designing feasible, long-lasting Payment for Ecosystem Services schemes: this becomes particularly complex in developing countries, where economics resources are often scarce for the most basic and urgent need, therefore governments´ efforts towards PES remain on weekly-enforced policies that appeal more to the collective consciousness about conservation rather than on real-life conditions for the directly-affected communities.
In this context, some Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes have been applied in the last decade, as a solution that intends to set feasible long-term systems, depending on the information and context conditions. The traditional concept of PES in these cases is still under debate or in need of adaptation to suit the realistic socioeconomic conditions, as well as the available information. Furthermore, some Economic Valuation Methods schemes have been tested in cases like Indonesia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, as an effort to explore the Suppliers´ preferences.
This document intends to present an updated State of The Art review of the published case studies of Developing Countries where these schemes has been applied for ES of the agricultural sector, and intends to provide an exploratory approach that showcases how the particularities of these countries define the future and the possibilities of having such applications as a sustainable PES scheme.

Ecosystem Services – Public Goods – Auctions – Payments – Agriculture – Conservation - Preferences

Daniel Chukwuemeka Amaogu (2023). "Effect of Winter Anomalies on Carbon and Water Cycling in Selected European Terrestrial Ecosystems". Master thesis at the University of Tuscia, Italy.

Supervisor: Prof. Dario Papale (University of Tuscia)

Md Ekramul Haque 2018. Effects of Collembolan (Springtails) on Soil Aggregate formation and Stabilization: A trait-based Approach.
Advisors: Dr. Amandine Erktan and Dr. Marie Currie, Universty of Gottingen, University of Gottingen and Prof. Dr. José Antonio Bonet, University of Lleida

SM Lovely Akhter 2019. Effects of water stress on Alnus glutinosa populations across the species distribution range. Master Thesis, University of Lisbon. Lisbon, Portugal

Advisors: Dr Patricia María Rodríguez González and Prof. Teresa Soares David.

Muhammad  Muddasir 2015. Efficacy of Biochar in Reducing Cu and Zn Toxicity in Manure Sludge Using Biological Indicators. Master Thesis, University of Tuscia. Viterbo, Italy.
Advisors: Prof. Paolo De Angelis, Prof. Maria Cristina Moscatelli and Dr. Andrea Colantoni, University of Tuscia

Wenhao Wang. 2017. Estimating Sustainable forest management (SFM) indicators at operational scale in central Italy. Master Thesis, University of Tuscia. Tuscia, Italy.
Advisor: Prof. Anna Barbati
Zoi-Antigoni Sideri-Manoka 2017. Master Thesis, University of Tuscia. Tuscia, Italy.

Joyce Machado Nunes Romeiro. 2020. Evaluation of areas burned in wildfire and prescribed fires using spectral indices and sar data. Master Thesis. Università of Padua.
Department of Land, Environment Agriculture and Forestry.

Francesco Pirotti
Fillipe Tamiozzo Pereira Torres

Sushmita Rani Saha 2018. Evaluation of the use of Biochar to remove heavy metals from road runoff. University of Tuscia. Tuscia, IItaly
Advisors: Prof Paolo De Angelis and Dr. Dario Liberati, University of Tuscia

Luka Goudsblom 2023. "Exploring Spatial Growth-Synchrony of Seasonal Pinewood Formation and Soil Macrofungal Productivity: A Variance-Covariance Mixed Modeling Approach". Master Thesis. The University of Lleida.

Supervisors: Dr. Tatiana Shestakova and Prof. Sergio de Miguel


Fungi and pine trees shape unique and highly heterogeneous forest ecosystems in the Mediterranean, typically characterised by limiting nutrients and water availability. Fungal productivity plays a key role for the capacity of trees to obtain soil carbon, water, and nutrients. Regional climate and microclimatic conditions regulate both seasonal wood formation and fungal productivity, although responses may be highly dependent on seasonality, tree species, fungal functional group and complex local soil conditions. In this study it is attempted to clarify to what extent saprotrophic and ectomycorrhizal mushroom production are coupled with tree growth of different pine species along a supra-to-thermo-Mediterranean climate gradient. To this end, we apply a variance-covariance mixed modelling approach to take into account random variation arising from repeated measurements (year effects). This investigation was carried out in forests of four different pine species in the province of Catalonia (NE Spain), with sites ranging from mesic to xeric conditions. Tree-ring width data was obtained for the period 1975-2014, fungal sporocarp productivity data was obtained for the period 1997-2022. Spatial synchrony patterns were quantified with the use of variance-covariance mixed modelling, based on subsets of data according to taxonomic- and geographic grouping criteria. Further assessment of annual tree-ring growth and fungal sporocarp production relationships were achieved with the use of bivariate random effects modelling. We observed that EW formation favoured cold and wet conditions during previous autumn and current early-summer, whereas LW formation seemed less affected by climate, though more by precipitation than temperature. Saprotrophic productivity showed no clear climate dependencies, which we attributed the lack of included site/soil variables, while ectomycorrhizal productivity mainly correlated with late-summer/early-autumn precipitation. Synchrony estimates revealed that taxonomy-based groupings scored consistently higher than geography-based groupings. TRW trait synchronies demonstrated a clear effect of enhanced synchrony under increasingly-drought limiting circumstances, but with species-specific responses for LW formation. ECM synchrony appeared rather consistent, but with noticeable spatial autocorrelation at lower geographical distances, whereas SAP synchrony barely yielded any results due to a high proportion of nonvariance measurements. We find that long-term mushroom inventories are crucial for appropriate analysis, and equally so the resolution and detrending of climate data.

Amir Hossein Khalili Pir 2023. "Exploring the value of ecosystem services associated with forest genetic resources in Europe: a preliminary assessment with a focus on the Mediterranean region". Master Thesis. The University of Padova.

Supervisors: Dr. Mauro Masiero (University of Padova)


Forests are essential ecosystems that provide a wide range of ecosystem services, with Forest Genetic Resources (FGR) at their core. These genetic materials, found within and among tree and woody plant species, possess economic, environmental, scientific, and societal value. Nonetheless, their recognition in national policies and strategies often remains inadequate. This thesis delves into the intricate relationship between FGR and ecosystem services, particularly in the context of Italy. Our primary objective in this study was to explore the significance of ecosystem services associated with FGR in Italy, considering both the current situation and a future scenario where Italy will be affected by the impacts of climate change. To achieve this, we chose the Delphi method, a structured communication technique used to gather expert opinions and reach consensus on complex issues. Using the Delphi method, we designed a two-round survey and invited experts in the field of ecosystem services in Italy to participate in our study and provide us with their insights and expertise on the topic. The survey results underscored the importance of regulating ecosystem services, such as habitats for plants and animals, natural hazard protection, and carbon storage. Additionally, they revealed an anticipated shift in the importance of these services due to climate change. Furthermore, an analysis of participants' backgrounds emphasizes the significance of involving experts from diverse fields in decision-making processes. In conclusion, by recognizing the value and importance of FGR and the associated ecosystem services, informed decisions can be made in forest management and conservation, especially in the context of climate change.

Daniel Hagos Berhe 2018. Feasibility of NIR Spectroscopy in Classifying Pine Nut Species Beech. Master Thesis, University of Tuscia. Tuscia, Italy.
Advisors:  Dr. Mariagrazia Agrimi, Prof. Dr. Riccardo Massantini, Dr. Roberto Moscetti, University of Tuscia.

Sisile Chowdhury 2023. "Forest Habitat Mapping of Castelporziano Natural Reserve with PlanetScope Multispectral Data and Supervised Classification Method". Master Thesis. The University of Tuscia.

Supervisor: Dr. Anna Barbati, Associate Professor, University of Tuscia


Up to date and accurate forest habitat maps are vital for monitoring changes in forest vegetation. To understand and quantify the impacts of increasing pathogen attacks and climatic changes in European forest habitats, accurate information on the occurrenc e and distribution of forest stands is needed. Our study aims to produce a forest habitat map of Castelporziano Natural Reserve (6200 ha) located in Southern Italy by the Supervised Classification of PlanetScope (3m × 3m) daily satellite data. Eleven fores t habitat classes are considered in the mapping exercise: Pine stands, Maquis, Thermophilous oak forest, Thermophilous oak forest with C. orientalis , Thermophilous oak forest with maquis, Fraxinus forest, Mesotrophic and Eutrophic oak forest, Mesotrophic a nd Eutrophic oak forest with C. orientalis , Mesotrophic and Eutrophic oak forest with Maquis, Q. suber and, Q. ilex and Q. rotundifolia . As PlanetScope collects spectral responses over eight spectral bands in the Visible and Near Infrared Region every day, the study assumes that a time series of the band, most important for vegetation classification (Band 8 Near Infrared Region) or a time series of the vegetation index most widely used to quantify vegetation greenness (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index NDVI) would be sufficient input data for forest habitat mapping. To perform the supervised classification method, we used a decadal time series of NDVI and NIR bands and a non parametric Random Forest (RF) model for the years 2021 and 2022. For ref erence data (Ground truth) we considered the EUNIS habitat classification map available for the Castelporziano Natural Reserve which was produced by visual interpretation of high resolution imagery and field survey. The randomly collected sample areas for each class covered about 0.3% of the study area (20250 pixel per class) among which 70% were used as training samples and 30% were used as validation samples. Our results show that the target forest habitat types in Castelporziano Natural Reserve can be ma pped with PlanetScope multi temporal imagery by obtaining a 78% overall accuracy maximum. We obtained 78%, 72%, 68%, and 63% overall accuracy for stacked images of NDVI_2021, NDVI_2022, Band 8_2021, and Band 8_2022 respectively. User accuracy for the RF mo del providing best results ranges from 65% to 84%, and producer accuracy from 57% to 87%. So, we can say that the vegetation index (NDVI) performs better than the NIR (Near Infra Red) band to differentiate among different vegetation classes. The best deca des we identified to delineate among different vegetation classes belong to spring and autumn.

Elvin Carol Kohen 2019. Forest Landscape Restoration, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Master Thesis, University of Lisbon. Lisbon, Portugal

Advisors: Dr. Miguel Bugalho and Dr. Barbara Vinceti


Houda Ben Salah 2015. Forest stands characteristics of the Salamandra atra aurorae Trevisan habitat: a study at the Bosco del Dosso (Asiago, Italy). Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.  
Advisors: Dr. Tommaso Sitizia and Dr. Thomas Campagnaro, University of Padua.


Anthropogenic habitat loss and the reduction of suitable habitat for a species have been implicated as among the key drivers of biodiversity crisis. Salamandra altra aurorea is
considered to be critically endangered by the IUCN red list and is included as “priority taxon” in the European Union Habitat directive due to its very limited geographic distribution and the potential threat of habitat loss resulting from wood harvesting. My first goal in this study was to evaluate the characteristics of the habitat of Salamandra atra auroae in “Bosco del Dosso” in the plateau of Asiago, by focusing on various parameters, and investigating the influence of environmental and management factors. The second goal was to compare results on habitat characteristics with those of the previous year before any forestry intervention was carried out. This study is part of a larger project aimed at studying the habitat of this species and the effect of experimental forest exploitation on the subspecies under investigation. In 2015, for these reasons, based on the presence of the salamander recorded in 2014, 17 trees were cut from a total number of 50 trees. In 2015 there was a higher total number of vascular plant species in the herbaceous layer and, consistently, also the cover of this vegetation layer increased.  The removal of the canopy could have had an affect also on the regeneration. The number of stones and bark pieces significantly increased between the two years whether the trees were cut or left standing. Based also on the observations of last year, this study highlights the importance of considering an important amount of shelters as stones and pieces of bark to better understand the habitat of Salamandra atra aurorae and the possible changes driven by forest exploitation."

Júlia Albert Varela. 2020.  FSc Forest certification as a conservation tool in Portugal: impacts and potentialities. Master ThesisUniversity of Padua - Department of land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry.


Mauro Masiero - University of Padua 
Joana Faria - FSC Portugal
Carmo Tavares - FSC Portugal

High Conservation Values (HCV) is a concept introduced by the Forest Stewardship Council that focuses on outstanding forest attributes that need extra consideration when developing sustainable forest management in certified forest areas. The aim of this study is to evaluate the contribution of the FSC HCV approach on conservation focusing on selected Portuguese forest management units. To do so, it was described the HCVs presence in Portugal and the role of FSC certification on enhancing protection outside of formally protected areas and the impacts of the approach implementation for certified organizations was analysed. This study used primary data from a mail survey to the FSC certificate managers of areas with HCV and secondary data from FSC audit reports. Due to the lack of standardization, results from secondary data analysis are not considered to be entirely reliable, but a starting point for further research. Data was analysed through descriptive statistics on Microsoft Office Excel. Results concluded that FSC HCV approach contributes to conservation in certified forests in Portugal. Although HCV areas only account for approximately 6% of the certified forest area, measurement of changes caused by the approach implementation for the certified organization demonstrated a positive impact on forest certification. Moreover, the study also highlighted the role of certification in preserving HCVs present outside of traditionally protected areas like Natura 2000 or national protected areas. Also, survey answers pointed out that certificate managers consider the HCV approach to have an overall positive impact, although weaknesses were pointed out: lack of standard reporting and need of better guidelines. In order to improve the future of the HCV approach, improvement suggestions were done on report standardization, increased certified organizations guidance and increase of HCV importance under the FSC forest certification scheme.

Ashenafi Tadesse Marye 2023. "Habitat Assessment of Native Fishes in Antella Segment of Júcar River Basin (Spain) Under Climate Change Scenarios". Master Thesis. The University of Lleida.

Supervisors: Prof. Francisco Martinez-Capel (Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain) and Dr. Damián Vericat Querol (University of Lleida, Spain)

Shebeshe Haile. 2019. How does precipitation pattern affect annual tree growth? A multi-year data analysis a case study of semi-arid Yatir Forest, Israel

Advisors:  Felipe Bravo Oviedo  and Yakir  Preisler and Dan Yakir

Amal Mokhtar 2014. Implementation of the Strategic Framework of Mediterranean Forests in the National Forest Programs of the Maghreb countries: a regional comparative analysis. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Laura Secco, University of Padua.

Muleta Takele Birhanu. 2020. Individual tree early growth models for ten valuable broadleaves in Mediterranean conditions. Master Thesis, University of Lleida. School of Agrifood, Forestry Science and Engineering. 

In collaboration with CTFC - Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia


Dr. Sergio de Miguel, UdL September 2020
Dr. Jaime Coello, CTFC
Dr. Míriam Piqué, CTFC

Abdullah-Al Mamun 2018. Intra-specific differentiation in the investment on carbon resources on Pinus nigra. Master Thesis, University of Lleida. Lleida, Spain.
Advisors: Prof. Dr. Luis Serrano and Prof. Dr. Monica Aguilera, U of Lleida.

Siba Ghadban 2018. Key local landscape and stand structure variables explain biodiversity of Mediterranean forests in Catalonia, Spain. University of Lleida. Lleida, Spain.
Advisors: Prof. Cristina Vega-Garcia, University of Lleida.

Andrii Khomiuk 2018. Large-scale assessment of storm damage to forests using Sentinel-2 imagery and LiDAR data. Master Thesis, University of Lleida. Lleida, Spain.
Advisors: Prof. Dr. Lluís Coll Mir and Dr. Santiago Martín Alcón, U of Lleida

Dongmei Chen 2015. Mapping Fire Regimes in China Using MODIS Data. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy. 
Advisors: Dr. Francesco Pirotti, University of Padua and Prof. José M.C. Pereira, University of Lisbon.

Umair Masood Awan Hafiz 2014. Market Development of Pine Products in European Union: Decline or Diversification? Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Davide Matteo Pettenella, University of Padua.

Fahmida Sultana. 2019.  Micropropagation and in vitro characterization of veteran Platanus orientalis L. under heavy metal (Cd) exposure.

Master Thesis, University of Tuscia. Tuscia, Italy.

Habib Yusif 2019.  Model Selection and Fitting for Basal Area Increment in a Vietnamese Tropical Forest.

Master Thesis, University of Valladolid, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenierías Agrarias, Spain.

Advisors: Felipe Bravo Oviedo and  Hung Bui

Eduardo Collado Coloma 2016. Modelling Height distribution of young cork oak plantations in Portugal. Master Thesis, University of Lisbon. Lisbon, Portugal
Advisors: Prof. Margarida Tomé and Dr. Joana Paulo

Maria Teresa Santos 2024. "Natural Regeneration dynamics in a Pinus pinaster population in Catalonia, Spain, & Implications for sustainable forest management". Master Thesis. The University of Lleida.


Prof. Sergio de Miguel &  Prof. José Antonio Bonet

Gonçalo Filipe Mateus Marques 2016. Post-fire vegetation recovery and deadwood dynamics in a scots pine forest. A multi-spacial scale analysis. Master Thesis, University of Padova. Padova, Italy
Advisors: Dr. Emanuele Lingua

Danilo Reis Gonçalves 2018. qPCR as a technique to detect Fusarium circinatum in different samples. Master Thesis, University of Valladolid. Palencia, Spain.
Advisors:  Dr. Julio Javier Diez Casero and Prof. Dr. Pablo Martínez Álvarez, University of Valladolid, Spain.

Alicia Pardo Moy. 2020. Recommendation of native species for the reforestation of degraded land using live staking in Antioquia and Caldas’ Departments (Colombia). Master Thesis. University of Padua. Department of Land, Environment Agriculture and Forestry.

Prof. Lorenzo Marini
Prof. Jaime Polanía Vorenberg

Although Colombia is one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world, it has many degraded areas due to agricultural and mining practices that have been carried out in recent decades. The high Andean forests are especially vulnerable to this type of soil erosion. The corporate purpose of ‘Reforestadora El Guásimo S.A.S.’ is to use wood from its plantations, but it also follows the parameters of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). For this reason, it carries out reforestation activities and programs and, very particularly, it is interested in carrying out ecological restoration processes in some critical sites. The study area is located between 2000 and 2750 masl and is considered a low Andean humid forest (bmh-MB). The average annual precipitation rate is 2057 mm and the average temperature is around 11 ºC. The soil has a sandy loam texture with low pH, which limits the amount of nutrients it can absorb. FAO (2014) suggests that around 10 genera are enough for a proper restoration. After a bibliographic revision, the genera chosen were Alchornea, Billia, Ficus, Inga, Meriania, Miconia, Ocotea, Protium, Prunus, Psidium, Symplocos, Tibouchina, and Weinmannia. Two inventories from 2013 and 2019, helped to determine different biodiversity indexes to check the survival of different species and to suggest the adequate characteristics of the individuals for a successful vegetative stakes reforestation.
Keywords: Reforestation, native species, adaptation, vegetative reproduction.

Sudip Pandey 2014. Relationship between climate and wood-anatomy parameters on Pinus sylvestris L. from Northern Finland. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Marco Carrer, University of Padua.

Abdelaziz Ben Abdallah 2015. Resilience of forest public authorities to forest policy reforms in Tunisia. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.
Advisors: Prof. Dr. Laura Secco, University of Padua and Dr. Irina Kouplevatskaya Butoud, FAO- Roma.


Sangita Chowdhury 2020. Responses in soil carbon and nitrogen fractionation after prescribed burning in Pla de la Llacuna, Montseny  Master Thesis. The University of Lleida - School of Agrifood, Forestry Science and Engineering.


Dr. Maria Teresa Sebastia, University of Lleida

Dr. Mercedes Ibanez, Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (CTFC) 

Prescribed fire is one of the most widely-used management tools to achieve precise and clearly defined objectives related to recover encroached rangelands. To my knowledge, there is no study that examines the legacy effect of the plant species on soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) particle size fractions after prescribed burning. Thus, this study aimed to assess the impact of prescribed burning on the C and N contents in the different fractions in topsoil (0-5cm and 5-10cm) in Pla de la Llacuna, Montseny, particularly to examine the legacy effect of the former extant plant species on soil carbon and nitrogen fraction distribution. Five vegetation patch types dominated by different plant functional types were identified. Multivariate analysis showed that patches dominated by different plant functional types show variability in the soil C and N contents, with legumes containing higher C and N proportions compared with other patch types, and most differentiated from biocrust soils. Soils under the legume Cytisus scoparius and the Atlantic shrub Calluna vulgaris were the ones showing a higher response to burning compared to the soil under the other species. According to univariate response analysis, C and N in total soil and in the sand fraction in the upper layer (0-5cm) decreased after prescribed burning, but increased in silt and clay fractions in the deeper layer (5-10 cm) likely due to downwards translocation and accumulation of C and N. The C/N ratio of total soil and sand fraction in the upper layer (0-5 cm), as well as silt fraction in both layers decreased after fire indicating soil C in the study site is labile. No significant interactions were found between plant species and burning in the total soil, neither in the three soil C and N fractions. But there were some tendencies for vegetation patch types to respond differently to burning, C. scoparius and C. vulgaris always being the most differentiated. This study will be helpful in terms of ecological, as well as management aspects, in terms of understanding ecological legacy effects and their possible consequences when planning prescribed burning.

Kisa Fatima 2017. Role of Mediterranean Forests in Sectors of Green Economy. Master Thesis, University of Lleida. Lleida, Spain
Advisors: Dr Inazio Martinez de Arano and Dr José Antonio Bonet

Shankar Thapa.  2020. Societal evaluation of forest ecosystem services and their trade-offs in Catalonia. The University of Lleida School of Agrifood, Forestry Science and Engineering


Dr. Mireia Pecurul Botines, CTFC 

Dr. Jose Antonio Bonet


The concept of Ecosystem services (ES), simply defined as “the benefits people obtain from ecosystems” has been used widely for various purposes. The benefits from ESs are evaluated by using three value domains i.e., economic valuation, bio-physical/ecologic valuation and socio-cultural/social valuation. Former two value domains have been researched widely while socio-cultural/social valuation are scarce. Without the inclusion of socio-cultural aspects, the evaluation of ES cannot be holistic and realistic. This study is an attempt to understand how people evaluate and perceive the importance of forest ES and add more insights to the social valuation aspect of forest ecosystem services. The level of knowledge and awareness about forest, relative importance of different forest ecosystem services, effect of forest management for boosting one ES on other forest ESs and people’s priority to forest management objectives were studied and analysed. In addition, the factors affecting management priorities were also studied and analysed by using data collected from questionnaire survey in four provinces of Catalonia Region. Statistical tests and descriptive analyses were carried out and the results thus obtained were discussed. The results showed that the people were not much aware about the present state of forests, regulating forest ES were more valued than cultural and provisioning forest ES and most people perceived that management of one forest ES had positive effect on all other services (with some exceptions). The results also indicated that people’s priority for forest management was towards regulating services and factors such as gender, education, place of residence and ownership typology did make a difference towards management priorities of forest ES. Environmental education for better understanding of forest systems, more focus on forest management for regulating services in Catalonia and further studies with consideration of other factors including factors such as age, education, gender, ownership typology and place of residence are recommended.

Ghenima Ghemouri 2015. Socio Economic valuation of NTFP in Algeria: A case study on medicinal plants in the National Park of Djordjuna. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.  Advisors: Prof. Dr. Davide Pettenella, Dr. Rachid Meddour and Dr. Sabrina Tomasini, University of Padua.

Olena Zaiets 2015. Soil organic Pools in Mediterranean Forests: A micromorphological approach. Master Thesis, University of Lleida, Lleida, Spain.
Advisors: Prof. Dr. Rosa M. Poch Claret, University of Lleida.

Xuanhui Zhou 2020. Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Landscape Fragmentation in Cork Oak Woodlands: Are there differences between certified and non-certified areas? Master Thesis. The University of Lisbon -  School of Agriculture.

 Supervisor: Miguel Nuno do Sacramento Monteiro Bugalho

Cork oak (Quercus suber) is an endemic species to the western Mediterranean Basin. Cork oak woodlands have high economic value mainly due to cork production. Additional sources of revenue may come from other products (e.g. livestock production) as well as through payment for ecosystem services (PES). Sustainable forest management plan in cork oak woodlands should also consider ecosystem services. All these services imply large areas of cork oak woodlands and high forest coverage in cork oak woodlands landscape. Deforestation and forest degradation are barriers to achieve sustainable and multiple-use on cork oak woodlands landscapes (montados). Since 2000s, forest certification, a governance tool aiming to promote sustainable forest management, has been expanding in cork oak woodlands. In this study, I analyze the changes of fragmentation and forest cover loss on cork oak woodlands landscape, in coruche, Portugal, where the entire region had been covered by APFC forest certification from 2005 to 2015. More specifically, I compare and quantify changes in cork oak woodlands landscape within the period, by using four landscape metrics in FRAGSTATS 4.0, including percentage of landscape (PLAND), Edge density (ED), mean of perimeter area ratio (PARA_MN), and contiguity index (CONTIG_MN). Moreover, I compare the difference of these changes between certificated and non-certificated landscapes in the study area. My results show that the mean values of four landscape metrics are different, but based on the p-values of Mann–Whitney U test, the overall forest loss condition and fragmentation status, from 2005 to 2015, in certificated and non-certificated cork oak woodlands landscape are not significantly different. From 2013 to 2015, the area of forest loss in certificated cork oak woodlands shows continued sharp-decline trend, while in non-certificated cork oak woodlands it shows diametrically opposite steady-growing trend. This study can guide future researches on cork oak woodlands landscape and forest fragmentation.

Jeremia Irianto Panjaitan 2023. "State of the Art and Perspectives for Regional Forest Biomass Network for Energy in the European Union". Master Thesis. Catholic University of Portugal

Supervisor: Prof. Miguel Sottomayor (UCP)


The utilization of renewable energy sources, particularly forest biomass, is crucial in addressing climate change and fostering sustainability. The European Union (EU) is dedicated to achieving renewable energy targets, with a focus on bioenergy. This study aims to explore the potential of regional forest biomass networks for energy (RFBNE) within the EU, investigating forest biomass utilization and network characteristics. The scoping review method is employed, and 45 relevant studies are identified from databases including Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. The findings reveal that the EU has surpassed its renewable targets and further making progress in solid biomass utilization and more GHG emissions reduction. The Nordic countries, such as Sweden and Finland, are the leaders in biomass usage, emphasizing their commitment to renewable energy and sustainable practices. Various stakeholders, both public and private, have engaged, with sustainability certifications ensuring ecosystem preservation. Policy recommendations include aligning biomass with renewable energy goals, enhancing energy efficiency, ensuring sustainable sourcing, and monitoring wood mobilization. RFBNE is expected to play a pivotal role in meeting renewable energy targets, engaging local governments and the private sector. Future research will explore economic viability and local green energy benefits, prioritizing bottom-up solutions and regulatory support.

Susana Patricia da Silva 2014. State of the Mediterranean Forest genetic resources in a climate change context. Master Thesis, University of Lleida, Lleida, Spain.
Advisors: Dr. Bruno Fady and Dr. Luis Serrano, University of Lleida.

Komla Julien Akpalu. 2019. Susceptibility of Pinus pinaster’s families to Pine Pitch Canker Caused by Fusarium Circinatum. 

Master Thesis, University of Valladolid, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenierías Agrarias, Spain.

Advisors: Dr. Pr. Julio Javier Diez Casero Dr. Raquel Diaz Vazquez

Ishida Yu 2015. Sustainable Use of Wood for Energy Comparison of Energy Support Schemes for Domestic Use of Wood between Germany, Italy, Japan, and UK. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.  
Advisors: Prof. Dr. Davide Mateo Pettenella and Prof. Dr. Mauro Masiero, University of Padua.


"This study has investigated the effects of wood products supply chain in relation to national renewable energy support schemes. The research was inspired by the question of whether monetary incentives encourage domestic wood use or induce wood imports.
This research conducted in-depth case studies on four selected countries – Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK. Its theoretical approach was based from the DPSIR (Driver, Pressure, State, Impact and Response) model created by EEA. The following information were used as indicators of the model: renewable energy support schemes, trend in biomass energy production, trend in wood products, sizes and numbers of plants, and forest resources. Most of the data were collected from documents provided by each national ministry and online databases such as Eurostat and FAOstat.
The findings from the research illustrate the antecedents and consequences of renewable support incentives and biomass energy production together with biomass plants, but further impacts on wood supply remains anecdotal due to the complex interconnections of several disciplines.
The results provided some key aspects for better use of wood biomass in support of renewable energy support incentives, but also limitations were stated for further research in the future."

Angham Naser Daiyoub. 2020.  The impact of the armed conflict on the forest cover in Syria. Master Thesis. University of Lleida - School of Agrifood, Forestry Science and Engineering


Dr. Sandra Saura Mas (CREAF and Unitat d’ecologia del Departament de Biologia Animal, Vegetal i Ecología de la UAB)

Dr. Maria Christina Vega (Universitat de Lleida). 

Armed conflicts and other types of violence that cause human displacement are key drivers of human-induced landscape change. They also contribute to increase the wildlife poaching and environmental degradation, especially in developing countries. In March 2011 the devastating armed conflict erupted in Syria causing the migration of more than 5 million people outside the country and the displacement of 6 million people in the country (internal displacement). About 1,4 million of refugees fled to the coastal area of Syria that contains most of the forest cover of the country, causing an additional pressure on the natural resources and especially forests. The main aim of this research is to study vegetation cover area changes in Syria, concretely on forest cover area and species conservation, since the beginning of the Syrian armed conflict. To study the effect of the armed conflict on the Syrian forests, Landsat TM and OLI satellite imagery were used from the pre-conflict (2011) and the conflict (2019) periods. The change detection method was the NDVI differencing using different NDVI threshold values to classify the vegetation in Syria into four classes: Forest, Agriculture, Grassland and No-vegetation. Another objective of the study is identifying the important areas for conservation in Syria using the data downloaded from the IUCN red list for threatened species to build the maps of important species areas for conservation. Results showed a significant forest cover loss of -9.26% from 2011 to 2019, most of the area loss (35.5%) was a result of forest conversion into agriculture lands, 34.1% was converted into a no vegetation (urban expansion mainly) and 29.3% were lost due the forest cover conversion into grasslands. Two hotspots maps were produced marking the most important species biodiversity areas for conservation like the coastal mountain range, Anti-Lebanon mountain range, Jabal al -Arab, Julan heights that presented the highest number of threatened species. The results indicate the negative impact of the armed conflict on the Syrian forests and the urgency of the conservation and the restoration efforts by applying policy interventions designed to reduce the elimination of the forests, especially in biodiversity hotspots.
Keywords: Armed conflict, Conservation, Forest change, Biodiversity, Violence.

Mohammad Maruf Billah. 2017. The relationship between climate and tree growth rate on various tree species across Canada and USA with focus on divergence decadal climate oscillations. Master Thesis, University of Tuscia. Tuscia, Italy.
Advisor: Prof Manuela Romagnoli and Prof David Goldblum

Jim Yates 2019. The role of formal institutions in forest decline: exploring institutional failure.

Master Thesis, Università Degli Studi di Padova. Padua, Italy.

Advisors: Professor Laura Secco and Prof. Francesco Carbone

Asaf Karavani 2016. The role of soil moisture in predicting edible wild mushroom productivity. Master Thesis, University of Lleida. Lleida, Spain.
Advisors: Dr. Miquel de Cáceres and Dr. Sérgio de Miguel

Bikash Kharel 2018. The use of barcoding sequences for the construction of phylogenetic relationships in the Euphorbiaceae. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.
Advisors: Prof. Dr. Alsessandro Vannozzi from u of Padua and Prof. Dr. Oliver Gailing, from University of Gottingen, Germany.

Emanuela Qato 2024. "The use of wildfire simulators in resilient forest landscapes. A case study in Portugal.". Master Thesis. The University of Lisbon.

Supervisor: Dr. Susete Marques

Kawtar Boussal 2016. Timber traceability impact on forest governance in tropical countries. The study case of Honduras. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy
Advisors: Dr. Laura Secco.

Hilina Yohannes Kebede. 2020. Tree based ecosystem service potential of church forests and trees in their agricultural matrix near Lake Tana, Ethiopia. Master Thesis. University of Lleida. School of Agrifood, Forestry Science and Engineering. 

Prof. Dr. Jose Antonio Bonet (University of Lleida)
Prof. Dr. Bart Muys (KU Leuven)
Dr. Valentino Marini Govigli (European Forest Institute)
Ms. Ferehiwot Ademassie (Ghent University, Bahir Dar University)

Eric CudjoeTree biomass allocation in temperate mixed forest.

Master Thesis, University of Valladolid, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenierías Agrarias, Spain.

Advisors: Dr. Felipe Bravo Oviedo and Dr. Ricardo Ruiz-Peinado

Narangarav Dugarsuren 2019. Tree biomass and biodiversity relationship in a mixed Mediterranean forest in Spain.  Master Thesis, Universidad de Valladolid. Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenierías Agrarias, Spain

Advisors:  Felipe Bravo Oviedo and Ángel Cristóbal Ordóñez Alonso


Ana Martín Ariza 2015. Trends in wildfire risk at time-scale: optimizing fuel treatments configurations in eucalyptus plantation in Portugal. Master Thesis, University of Padua. Padua, Italy. Advisors: Dr. Francesco Pirotti, University of Padua, Eng. Tiago Martins de Oliveira and Dr. Brigite Botequim, University of Lisbon.


Alexandra A. Rivera Ramos. 2020. Tropospheric ozone uptake under drought conditions - A case study of the Urban Trees in Vienna, Austria.  Master Thesis. University of Padua. Department of Land, Environment Agriculture and Forestry.

Prof. Tomasso Sitzia
Dott. Hans Sandén and M. Sc. Anne Fitzky

Prakash  Thapa. 2020. Variation in fuel moisture content across pine stands is driven by climate and weather in Catalonia. Master Thesis. The University of Lleida - School of Agrifood, Forestry Science and Engineering.


Dr. Víctor Resco de Dios 


Fuel moisture is a key fuel trait that often acts as the on/off switch of forest
flammability. In this study, I analyzed data of live and dead fuel moisture content
across six pine forests in NE Spain collected in the years 2016 and 2017. The
objective was to assess fuel moisture variation across a marked climatic gradient in
NE Spain. I observed significant variation across sites in live (67-247%) and also
in dead (9-18%) fuel moisture. Variation across sites in live fuel moisture was
associated with mean annual temperature and precipitation. Seasonal variation in
live fuel moisture was apparent for grasses and shrubs, but not for trees. Soil
moisture was a significant driver of seasonal variation in grass moisture content.
However, no clear trend between dead fuel moisture and mean annual temperature
or precipitation was observed, which was driven by diurnal variations in vapor
pressure deficit. These results imply that live and dead fuel moisture both can be
altered with climate change, enhancing forest flammability.


Eric  Boateng  Acheampong 2019. Verified sourcing areas (VSA) initiative: assessing the opportunities and challenges in six selected cocoa communities in the Prestea-Huni Valley, District of Ghana.

Master Thesis, Università Degli Studi di Padova. Padua, Italy.

Advisors: Prof. Mauro Masiero

"Cocoa production has been associated with deforestation and current management conditions/practices has raised concerns on how social issues are addressed along the cocoa supply chain. The Verified Sourcing Areas (VSA) mechanism developed by IDH is one of the numerous initiatives to address sustainability issues in the cocoa sector. The study was conducted to preliminary assess the gap between the VSA approach and the targeted communities. 200 cocoa farmers and 8 key informants were interviewed from six randomly selected communities in the Prestea-Hunni Valley District in the South-Western part of Ghana. Land use conversion has increased in recent years: while in 2000-2003 only 2% of farmers had converted various land use, the percentage increased up to 53% from 2016-2019 mostly at the expense of forests and fallow lands. In most cases, conversion was done to expand the cultivated area for increased production. Between 58-232 hectares of forest cover have been converted from 2000-2019 and there is pressure on peatlands. Labour preference for men has resulted in limited access and wage gap against women. Children aged under 18 have been used in cocoa production. 57% and 90% of farmers do not have permanent tenure and official land titles respectively. Rising cost of inputs was identified as the major challenge for the future of cocoa production whiles availability of affordable inputs was identified as a major driver. An important requirement during trade of cocoa beans were beans dryness and type/nature of weighing scale for License Buying Companies (LBCs) and farmers respectively. The main opportunities for VSA identified included high prevalence of active labour and young vital cocoa farms, organized farmers and unlikely future labour drain. The major challenges were high prevalence of customary land tenure regimes, low production trends and low or no intensification. There are gaps between the study area and all key-themes of the VSA approach."

Luiz Henrique Elias Cosimo 2023. Voluntary sustainability standards to cope with the new European Union Regulation on deforestation-free products: a gap analysis. Master Thesis. The University of Padova.


Dr. Mauro Masiero

The European Union (EU) recently introduced the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) to tackle global deforestation and forest degradation, with a focus on key commodities such as cattle, cocoa, coffee, oil palm, rubber, soya, and wood. The EUDR mandates that operators exercise due diligence to ensure these commodities are deforestation-free and are produced in accordance with relevant legislation. Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) have been widely adopted by commodity producers and suppliers to promote deforestation-free supply chains. The EUDR recognizes certification and other third-party verified schemes as sources of supplementary information for conducting risk assessments. However, questions persist regarding the extent to which these schemes can aid operators in assessing compliance with the EUDR. Furthermore, the existing literature offers mixed evidence regarding their effectiveness. This study addresses these concerns by developing an assessment framework to evaluate the suitability of schemes in covering the due diligence requirements outlined in the EUDR. The framework adopts a hierarchical structure, organized into 3 principles, 8 criteria, and 24 indicators. These indicators were categorized as fully covered, partially covered, not covered, or not applicable. Five prominent VSS schemes were subjected to this framework: Fairtrade International, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Rainforest Alliance, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS). The study found that these schemes addressed several indicators outlined in the framework, but gaps in their coverage were evident too. Notably, the schemes lacked comprehensive measures to prevent deforestation and forest degradation. Their requirements primarily concentrated on natural forests, protected areas, high conservation values (HCV), and/or high carbon stock (HCS) forests. Moreover, the schemes permitted exceptions that allowed for deforestation and forest degradation, albeit in limited proportions. The assessment also revealed gaps in the schemes' coverage of the relevant legislation defined by the EUDR. These gaps were more pronounced in standards designed for actors along the supply chain (e.g., traders, processors etc.) compared to those aimed at producers (e.g., farmers and forest managers). Additionally, the schemes allowed for traceability systems where standard-compliant material could be mixed with conventional material. Except for FSC, the targeted VSS schemes did not enforce controls on conventional material entering their supply chains, increasing the risk of non-compliance with the EUDR. Therefore, such systems are not suitable for operators, as they increase the risk that commodities are associated with deforestation and non-compliance with legislation. Another significant observation was the schemes' use of soft mechanisms to address violations of their standards. Operators should ascertain that the verified parties supplying these commodities have not violate any requirements that could potentially lead to non-compliance with the EUDR. This study reinforces that these schemes do not serve as a guaranteed path to compliance with the EUDR. Therefore, operators are obligated to establish a robust due diligence system capable of fulfilling all appliable requirements. Nevertheless, schemes can still offer substantial assistance by providing on-the-ground information supported by an assurance system. For this, operators must devise strategies to address the gaps and challenges identified in this study.

Joyce Helena Sanches. 2020. Where is the Innovation in the Brazilian Atlantic forest restoration initiatives? A preliminary study. Master Thesis. University of Padua - Department of land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry.


Profª. Laura Secco
PhD. Aurélio Padovezi

Concern about the value of forests and natural ecosystems has increased worldwide and has fostered large-scale international forest restoration agreements, promoting connectivity between ecosystems and landscapes, including people's well-being. In order to comply with international forest restoration agreements, it is necessary to overcome barriers such as high operational cost, low operational performance in restoration activities or insufficient forest seedlings to attend the market (Brancalion et al., 2012). Innovation is believed to be an important tool in finding solutions and reducing bottlenecks in FLR (Brancalion et al., 2012; Brancalion & van Melis, 2017). The research had as main objective to understand the role of innovation in FLR initiatives through interviews, questionnaire and literature review. The interviews and the questionnaire were carried out from July to September 2020 and descriptive statistics was used to analyze and interpret the results. As a result, 66 innovations were registered, 61% being classified as product or organizational innovations. The innovations are distributed in 9 Brazilian states, being São Paulo and Paraná states responsible to 50% of the records. The main bottlenecks identified in the forest and landscape restoration initiatives refers to the high cost and low operational performance, scarcity of seeds and forest seedlings and insufficiency in economic exploration/productive arrangements. We conclude that innovation is a common factor among the restoration initiatives of the Atlantic Forest Biome, the ecosystem and innovations are related and to scaling up FLR it is important to connect stakeholders and to create strategic alliances, even if from different segments in the search for collective evolution.