Wayne, ME, United States
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Irland L.C.,The Irland Group
European Journal of Forest Research | Year: 2010

The UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other regional and national policy commitments have motivated an upsurge of interest in concepts and practical methods for monitoring forest conditions and trends at very wide geographic scales. Two approaches to sustainability assessment at a global level are reviewed here. One consists of monitoring change in forest conditions over time-the so-called Criteria and Indicators (C&I) approach. Another approach compares nations at a given point in time. An example is the Yale Environmental Performance Index (EPI). Both approaches yield insights. It is widely recognized, though, that severe data weaknesses afflict forest information over much of the world. These weaknesses include weak or absent information on wood consumption in many regions, poor area estimates, and weak or absent information on key ecological conditions in forests. The purpose of this essay is to introduce these efforts at global assessment, and to argue that an entirely new discipline is needed to supply the information needed. The focus of this new discipline would be to design an ecologically based set of definitions for forest and related ecosystems, and then to build and implement the optimum combination of satellite measurements, air photo interpretation, and field plot measurements needed to measure world forest resource conditions and trends. Examples of this new approach are already appearing. This argument is addressed to members of the global forest policy community concerned with assessment, and to scientists, technologists, and managers in the many technical fields already engaged on one or another aspect of measuring and monitoring forest conditions at a national and regional scale. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.


McDermott C.L.,University of Oxford | Irland L.C.,The Irland Group | Pacheco P.,Center for International Forest Research
Forest Policy and Economics | Year: 2015

This paper draws on a case study of the Brazilian Amazon to assess how two widely promoted strategies to govern tropical forests - non-state certification and state-based legality initiatives - interact with tropical wood production systems and the implications this holds for reducing deforestation and degradation and for local benefit-sharing. The assessment is guided by an analytical framework that predicts the relevance and receptiveness of different timber supply chains to current systems of trade-based governance. We find that Brazil's efforts to control illegal deforestation through satellite monitoring have contributed significantly to reducing deforestation, but the effects on degradation are less clear. Efforts focused on the timber supply chain, including certification and legal verification of traded timber, have been limited by the fragmented nature of Amazonian wood production. Both certification and legality verification favor large producers and concentrated supply chains destined for external markets (e.g. pulp and paper and high-value tropical sawnwood), while extensive legal requirements inhibit local benefit-capture. In order to prevent the means of forest governance (i.e. certification and law enforcement) from trumping its commonly stated ends (sustainable forest management and local welfare), there is a need to prioritize the generation of local benefit from locally adapted production systems. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Zhang Y.,Beijing Forestry University | Song W.,Beijing Forestry University | Irland L.C.,The Irland Group
International Journal of Environmental Studies | Year: 2014

This paper reports change in forest carbon stocks and their relationship to investment in forestry fixed assets in silviculture in China employing the forest stock volume conversion method for carbon stocks and annual sinks. The paper establishes carbon stock estimates, and then analyses recent carbon stock trends of main coniferous species based on the latest inventory of China's forest resources. The inventory data cover the seven dominant coniferous species from 1989 to 2008. The paper shows that investment in forestry fixed assets in silviculture and forest carbon stocks of some species have a significant effect with a lag of 3-7 years; and there is discussion of various problems regarding forest carbon stocks and sinks. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.


Irland L.C.,The Irland Group
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2013

Northeastern North America is a region of low fire occurrence compared to other areas. Moreover, reported area burned and fire numbers have been declining to unusually low levels over several decades. Reported forest fire data for 1950-2010 were analyzed for New York, New England, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Several diagnostics for extreme value behavior are described. Statistical analysis showsthat extreme value behavior can be preserved even at lower average levels of fire occurrence. A small number of years accounts for a significant share of cumulative area burned. Since 1957, there have been no years in which area burned exceeded 2 standard deviations from the mean in two or more jurisdictions. Datasets on individual fires since the 1970's are available for several states. An exploratory analysis of such data for New York shows that skewness in fire size distributions is much more marked for individual fires than for annual totals. Such data permits analysis of peak loads on fire control services in terms of monthly and daily fire activity. Considering the potential risks to life and property, further analysis of extreme fire occurrences in the region is warranted. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

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