A Collaborative Network – Why and How?

The success of FORESTS and CO heavily depends on the input of the community of forest scientists and experts. Here we describe what the need of constituting a Collaborative Network of researchers and how we are planning to manage the data that will be collected by the network.

The need of an international, collaborative effort

The direct contributions of the study of primary and old-growth forests to develop sustainable silvicultural systems has been so far partially hampered by the fact that the results of most studies are generally context-dependent. Europe is composed by a wealth of unique forest landscapes, each being the result of century-long interactions between the local environment and land-use traditions. Many studies that focused on the multiple functions and services of European forests were conducted exclusively in one or a few forest types, thus making it difficult to upscale their findings to the European level. Furthermore, primary forest remnants for many forest types are indeed very scarce in Europe, and this further complicates the task of drawing some general insights on the trade-offs and synergies between the different ecosystem services provided by the European forests.

Even if there is still much to learn from primary and old-growth forest remnants, an impressive body of knowledge has been already accumulated in the last two decades1. The ecosystem services provided by European forests have been intensively studied, in many different forest landscapes throughout Europe2. With primary forests rapidly disappearing and under pressure in many regions of Europe, there is now the compelling need to aggregate all the available knowledge. Only through a European-wide collaboration that overcomes the fragmentation of European forest research we may be able to translate the lessons learnt so far into a consistent framework of practical recommendations that could be applied to implement innovative, context-dependent forest management schemes. For these reasons, this project is intimately collaborative and inter-disciplinary, since it aims at creating a collaborative network of scientists from a broad range of different disciplines such as forest ecology, geography, sustainability science, remote sensing and forestry. We believe that only through this joint, participative and multi-disciplinary approach we will be able to address policy-relevant questions on how to possibly reconcile different, sometimes conflicting, management objectives in the different context of European forest landscapes.

 Data Property and Management

Data property and management policy will be jointly decided by the members of the collaborative network of forest scientists, once established, during a workshop focused on discussing issues related to requirements for duly crediting and acknowledging the participants to the project, as well as for attaining co-authorship in joint scientific publications and for third-parties use of joint data. We advocate the benefits of an open-source policy with the goal to make both source data and scientific results available to the public, nevertheless the management of the data collected during the project will be decided collectively by the members of the network. Finally, the papers resulting from FORESTS and CO will be published with a preference for open-access journals or open access content under a Creative Commons license.


Cited References:

1. Burrascano S, Keeton W, Sabatini FM, Blasi C. 2013. Commonality and Variability in the Structural Attributes of Moist Temperate Old-growth Forests: a Global Review. FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT 291: 458-479, ISSN: 0378-1127, doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.11.020

2. Kraus, D. and F. Krumm (2013). Integrative Approaches as an Opportunity for the Conservation of Forest Biodiversity, European Forest Institute.