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Biochar opportunities: Building soil resilience while reducing wildfire, insects and diseases

XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022









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    Journal, magazine, bulletin
    Biochar in sustainable soil management: potential and constraints
    ITPS Soil Letters #8
    2023
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    Biochar, derived from the pyrolysis of organic materials, is a decomposure-resistant soil amendment that enhances fertility, boosts agricultural productivity, and sequesters carbon in the soil for thousands of years. Its positive effects include improved nutrient availability, increased pH, and enhanced water retention capacity. Biochar can reduce nutrient losses, improve soil health, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. While its effectiveness may vary, targeted application could be a promising strategy, taking into account factors such as soil type and specific environmental conditions.
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    Article
    Ecohydrology-based management as a tool for preventing wildfires in the Mediterranean urban interface area
    XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022
    2022
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    The adaptation to climate change of forest areas with intense anthropic pressure requires innovative management models characterized by an increasingly efficient use of available resources. In Mediterranean areas, the most intense and persistent droughts alter the water relations in the soil-plant-atmosphere (SPA) continuum and therefore the flammability of the vegetation and the risk of wildfires. The main aim of this work is to present the potential of using detailed information characterizing the SPA for estimating key variables used for forest fire prevention. To this end, physiological, ecohydrological and meteorological measurements (water potential, soil/plant water content, sap flow, etc.) are carried out to model the response of live fuel moisture content (LFMC) to environmental conditions in representative Aleppo pine plots located in a forested area close to Valencia city (Spain). In addition, spectral indexes estimated from Sentinel bands (NDVI, EVI, NDMI, MSI, RGR, BSI and NDWI) are also tested for obtaining the spatio-temporal dynamics of LFMC at the forestscale. The results show the importance of assessing LFMC along the entire hydrological year due to its variation with phenology: minimum values are obtained at the beginning of spring (81.3%, 64mm of soil water content in the profile and 0.2Kpa of VPD) vs. 90.1% during the driest environmental (summer) conditions (18mm of soil water content and 1.9Kpa of VPD). Combining physiological and environmental predictors provides good estimations of LFMC (R 2 >0.70-0.84 in several cases). In addition, RGR, BSI and NDWI indexes are found to be promising predictors of LFMC (R2= 0.7). Efforts such as the one presented here to link a detailed SPA characterization with fire prevention are innovative and emerging, but also necessary when realistic estimations of LFMC dynamics are required. Particularly, our results will serve to improve the forest management of Mediterranean forests, allowing for the precise prediction and identification of forest wildfire behavior and risk thresholds (from surface fire to crown fire), but also the design of optimum irrigation schemes to decrease the risk of crown fires as those with the highest negative impacts. Keywords: live fuel moisture content; ecohydrology; fire weather index; wildland-urban interface; sapflow ID: 3623757
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    Document
    Bioenergy: A sustainable solution to landscape degradation
    XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022
    2022
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    Forest and landscapes provide innumerable ecosystem benefits. These ecosystem benefits are threatened by global land degradation which is made worse by global climate crisis and population explosion. Bioenergy as a renewable source of energy offer solutions to manage and restore a significant portion of degraded landscape, ameliorate global warming while providing food and energy security. This paper explores current trends and case studies covering the benefits of biofuels and biochar and their role in landscape restoration. Research shows that bioenergy crops reduce land degradation. Biofuel the yield product, mitigates carbon emissions and contributes to renewable energy demand. Furthermore, Biochar, one of its byproducts enhances soil fertility, improves crop productivity, contributes to the filtration of wastewater and benefit food security. Opportunity exists in peri-urban, urban and forest landscape to contribute to bioenergy availability with respect to biomass feedstock. The potential negative effects that may result from its use and production such as land-use change, and land use intensification can be reduced through appropriate land zoning. In general, these renewable products are still relatively underexplored and underutilized especially in developing country context. Apart from the environmental benefits bioenergy offers opportunity for socioeconomic growth and development since energy power these growths. It is concluded that biomass technology must be encouraged, promoted, invested, implemented, and demonstrated across landscapes. It is recommended that choice of appropriate raw material and efficient technology for bioenergy as well as other bioproducts production is of immense importance in order to produce high quality product with reduced environmental impact. Also, to maximize the benefits of bioenergy and bioproducts, there is need for policies and incentives that encourage their proper utilization and minimizes negative effect that may arise. Keywords: Deforestation and forest degradation, Landscape management, Climate change, Innovation, Adaptive and integrated management ID: 3487310

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