Scientific Papers

Masood Awan HU & Pettenella D. Pine Nuts: A Review of Recent Sanitary Conditions and Market Development. Forests. 2017: 8(10), 367. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/f8100367

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.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2017.05.013

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.10.024

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.

Abstract:

"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.

https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020177

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

Abstract:

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: https://doi.org/10.1002/ecm.1285

Abstract: 

"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.

Abstract:

"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: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2018.04.025

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 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funeco.2016.05.008

Zaits O & Poch RM. Micromorphology of organic matter and humus in Mediterranean mountain soils. Geoderma. 2016: 272 (2016) 83–92. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.03.006

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. https://doi.org/10.18671/scifor.v47n123.17

Abstract:

"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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envexpbot.2019.103828.

Abstract:

"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. 

Abstract

"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: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2014.11.013

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.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2015.11.035

Abstract:

"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: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10342-016-1014-3

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.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137310.

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2015.05.022

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. http://revistas.inia.es/index.php/fs/article/view/9293

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.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8899-1

(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.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.13057/asianjfor/r040105

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:  https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10091397

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: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-019-00369-5

Thesis

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. 

Supervisors:

Professor José Guilherme Martins Dias Calvão Borges

Abstract
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

Supervisors:

Professor José Guilherme Martins Dias Calvão Borges

Dr Susete Maria Gonçalves Marques 

Abstract
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. 

Abstract:

"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.

Supervisors:

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

Abstract
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

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

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.

Supervisors: 

Prof. Maria Teresa Gomes Afonso do Paço

Prof. Ana Paula Ferreira Ramos

 Abstract
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.
Keywords:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Abstract:

"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."

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.

Supervisors:

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

Abstract
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.

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

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

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

Abstract
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.

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

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.

Supervisors:
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

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.

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.

"Abstract: 

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.

Supervisors

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

Summary
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.

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

Advisors:

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

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.

Supervisors
Prof. Lorenzo Marini
Prof. Jaime Polanía Vorenberg

Summary
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.

Supervisors

Dr. Maria Teresa Sebastia, University of Lleida

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

Abstract
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

Supervisors.

Dr. Mireia Pecurul Botines, CTFC 

Dr. Jose Antonio Bonet

Abstract

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

Abstract
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.
 

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.

Summary

"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

Supervisors:

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). 

Abstract:
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.

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. 

Supervisors
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

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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.

Supervisors:
Prof. Tomasso Sitzia
Co-supervisors
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.

Supervisor:

Dr. Víctor Resco de Dios 

Abstract

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

Summary:
"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."

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.

Supervisor

Profª. Laura Secco
Co-Supervisor
PhD. Aurélio Padovezi
 

Summary
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.